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Crisis - Escalator

When Tony Wakeford started revisiting Crisis songs in the group a few years ago, it was always feasible that he may resurrect the outfit that he formed with Douglas Pearce in 1976. The last recordings from the original Crisis were released in 1981, although compilations and bootlegs have continued to appear. It's taken a while for this new version of Crisis to start recording new material. Crisis were avowed lefties, Trotskyists to be more precise, aligned with organisations such as Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League. Their singles and sole album avoided basic punk thrash for a brooding, sound closer to what would become post-punk. This new iteration of Crisis features founding member Tony Wakeford alongside Clive Giblin (Alternative TV), Lloyd James (Naevus) and Aurora Lee. Rest assured, this isn't just some nostalgia trip. This reincarnation of Crisis don't align with any political parties or movements but that sense of agitation, struggle and disgust with current affairs still flows through these new songs.

A sense of defiance runs through the chugging riffs, driving bass and pounding drums of 'Blind Cities'. "There's nothing to see here" James exclaims in a lyric written about protagonists living amidst heaps of rubble in streets littered with burning cars and factory workers caught up in drudgery, both, alienated, locked out of cities filled with glass and concrete towers representing the edifices of power. It's a no-nonsense slice of punk fuelled agitation. The title track, meanwhile, is electrified by passages of wiry snaking guitars over booming bass settling into ringing guitar as James rails at the ruling class and financial profiteers, who would sell the air in the name of (free) enterprise, making money from wars and epidemics, renting homes at sky high prices. In an age of austerity and recession and falling wages it succinctly captures the constant struggle to maintain a standard of living in the chorus of "running up the down escalator, a rat trapped in a wheel".

Things slow down on 'At the Door' where James lets loose with a stream of unanswered questions against a spacious riff surging over limber bass lines and taut rhythms before the final track, 'Deeds Not Words', lunges from drum pounds into scraping guitars and direct booming bass lines adopting post-punk mannerisms, topped with Aurora Lee's clipped vocals. "Deeds not words" she implores in curt yelps, its title taken from suffragette activist Emmeline Pankhurst's rallying cry, as it bursts into lines adapted from the Marxist thinker and activist Rosa Luxemburg. With a much-needed call to action 'Deeds Not Words' provides the most rousing moment from this resurrected outfit.

The line-up of Crisis may have changed but with unemployment, recession, racism and social division still rife in the UK it seems, as some group, commented nothing changes. Escalator along with the previous single The Hammer and the Anvil carries a more polished sound but the intent and energy ensure it still sits comfortably alongside their original material. You may have had your doubts about the resurrected Crisis but on the basis of this they still sound valid and a much needed voice of dissent. Escalator is available digitally and on 12-inch vinyl from Wooden Lung bandcamp