UK:ID – Freedom of Speech (UK:ID records)
Glastonbury based UK:ID recently released their debut album Freedom of Speech. They play “a mixture of electronics rock, drum & bass and hip hop” and are young, angry and loud. Louder Than War’s Adrian Bloxham passes judgement on the new record below.
UK:ID hail from Glastonbury. They are not happy. In fact I’d go so far as say that they are bloody furious. They merge blisteringly hard beats alongside squelching synth lines and groove heavy rhythms. The cover of the album shows a figure with an unzipped mouth and a megaphone. Not subtle, but subtlety has had its chance, let’s try shouting. There’s a long history of angry young bands dissatisfied with the state of the nation and this album will join their ranks. Good protest music coming from the young is the lifeblood of rebellion and it needs to be encouraged as much as we possibly can.
The music is an amalgam of acid house squelches, guitar mashing, hard Prodigy influenced beats and the catchiest songs this side of the sadly defunct King Blues. They sound very angry but they bring a note of positivity to their songs, lots of togetherness and understanding of the poor and disenfranchised. The message that no one has anything now in ‘In a trance’ is echoed in B there with UK:ID asking if you are going to be there for them and do you care? ‘Something or nothing’ tells us that even if you fail you can try again. All sung over the aforementioned big beats and basslines.
But even with the hints of brightness it’s the anger and frustration that batters its way to the front. It’s sloganeering and sound bites set to music. Been done before you say? Indeed it has, but at the moment the message needs to be gotten across any way it possibly can. Youth thrives on confrontation and anger, which the rest of this album delivers in spadefuls. ‘Hacked’ uses a slower deliberately violent, harder synth pattern to get into your skull and work you up. ‘Raid’ echoes the frustration of picked on youth. ‘Freedom of Speech’ is the sound of a band at the end of their tether, a real call to arms.
The standout track for me is ‘1986’ with its sweeping syths and slow, funereal drum beat. With the message that you are not alone. Don’t give up. Which is where this album works. It’s about belonging, about being part of something bigger, about making a difference. On that level, it’s a triumph.
Buy the album digitally here: bit.ly/UKIDfreedomofspeech.
All words by Adrian Bloxham. More writing by Adrian can be found at his author’s archive.