Newcastle’s Ben Leece is back with a brand new single featuring his band Left Of The Dial and guest vocals by William Crighton, Liz Stringer and Julieanne Crighton.
Following his recent Marrow Gold/Skywatching double EP release he’s put a stake in the ground with the visceral polemic sound of ‘Big Black Red‘ (Stanley Records). It’s important nation healing stuff he’s addressing as he sings “The system ain’t broke it does what it’s supposed to do, you got blood on your hands I got blood on my hands too, white tongue don’t tell black history.” Music and popular culture needs to address AND reflect the times, both past and present and Leece does that with passion, poetry and integrity.
Musically, Leece has shed much of the alt-country/Americana trappings of his last full length album No Wonder The World Is Exhausted, though if you listen to Marrow Gold/Skywatching you can trace that evolution as the band double down, get faster, tighter and more resolute in their playing – following the lead of Leece’s songwriting and increasingly impassioned playing. The 2018 album was a smouldering affair, now the flames have been well and truly fanned.
From the guitar surge and urgency of Hüsker Dü and Bob Mould’s committed delivery, to the jarring sonic contrasts when Leece and friends bark out “white tongue don’t tell black history” in unison, a parallel to the Bomb Squad production of Public Enemy can be drawn. Dry intimate vocals butt up against megaphone rallying cries. Verses ring out over sparse drums. dovetailing into wide-open alt-rock vistas. Refused meets Midnight Oil in a fever dream of politics, cultural desecration and a nation’s moral failings.
‘Until Australia has a Treaty with its Aboriginal people, only then can we try and start to heal and move forward. The job doesn’t finish on January 27. We can’t just throw out a social media post one day a year, pat ourselves on the back and wonder why nothing has changed when the date rolls around again. It’s a 365 day a year job and as a country we need to get uncomfortably honest with ourselves’