Reviews

Articles of Faith What We Want Is Free EP reissue

  • Reviewer Felix Havoc
  • Label Alona's Dream / Alternative Tentacles

The explosion of hardcore in the USA in 1981 occurred at just the right time in a socio-cultural context to recruit to its ranks a legion of incredibly talented and creative people. When we review the canon of the first few years of hardcore in America, we are astonished at how much truly great, empowering, and influential music was created in a short period of time. Like the original explosion of punk in the UK, it was just the right place and right time. Here were a lot of very talented and energetic young people who were just waiting for some creative window to open that they could jump through. ARTICLES OF FAITH were one of many of those first wave of hardcore bands. Their first two 7″s captured them at a perfect point where the raw energy of hardcore was bursting forth, and before their creative talents lead them to more complex compositions and explorations. Their later material draws in a lot of influence from GANG OF FOUR and other post-punk types, but on What We Want is Free, we have that raw enthusiasm of a band’s first release, charging hard out of the gate with no such pretensions. The recording is lo-fi, the layout is cut-and-paste, but the energy and zeal radiate from the record like blazing bonfire. Musically, this is straight-ahead ’82 hardcore, but played with some chop and panache that reveals a greater underlying musicianship, not unlike their then labelmates DIE KREUZEN, or perhaps New Strings For Old Puppets-era REALLY RED. Vic Bondi wrote some great lyrics; he had a way of capturing complex social or economic issues and condensing them into a “less is more” lyrical delivery. That is to say, you can read a lot into what he is trying to say with very few words. “What we Want is Free,” “Bad Attitude,” and “My Father’s Dreams” focus on the yearning to be free from the constraints of a preordained conformist career in the capitalist system. “Everyday” is the same message of the bleak dehumanized reality that awaits those who do conform and get stuck in society’s rat race. The second 7″ Wait was also reissued; that one is a real masterpiece musically and lyrically. Taken together they are a testament to the enduring power of the genre.