by The Proclaimers

Like many people I have liked the Proclaimers for years. I really enjoy their love songs which have a Tom Leonard quality to them in terms of their ability to express profound emotions in the language of the working class. I was therefore really pleased to be given Life with you as a recent birthday present. Good to sing along to during my 40 minute drive to work I thought. And so it is – you find yourself drumming at the wheel while belting out the lyrics. This, however, is more than an album of memorable choruses. It is very angry, bitter, highly political and completely relevant.

Proclaimers album cover
Proclaimers album cover

In Recognition is a republican anthem for the 21st century as it viscerates the hypocrisy of those who buy into the honours system leaving no excuse open to those who, put the crown / before or after their name.

We could all name those so called champions of the working class who capitulate to patronage and monarchy and who leave us questioning their years of contribution to the labour movement when they eventually bend the knee to the crown for personal gain.

Celebrities too are singled out for scathing sarcasm when they take a gong for bravery upon the stage. The irony of their deed as they stand beside wounded squaddies is completely lost on them.

Blair has no hiding place as they demand an apology for the bloody carnage that is the war in Iraq. This theme is continued in The Long Haul which emphasises the consequences of the West’s current fight against evil empires which are now Islamic as opposed to those which were communist in the 20th century.

For me, by far the most refreshing tracks were those which hammered into religion in a way that was militantly secular. – New Religion and If there’s a god.

I love the clarity which expresses their disbelief that so many people will suspend their rational faculties in order to feel a sense of purpose through ridiculous nonsense. Give me a zip for the back of my head / I want to join in too sums up their contempt for those weakest seeds who need to find nourishment in the mystic and the supernatural.

Charlie and Craig are fearless in combining their popular art with the radical politics which is clearly so much a part of them. They throw in a great wee song about misogynist song lyrics which also shows their ability to stand against the ‘anything-goes’ liberal trend. They are confident enough, as they have always been, to dare to be different and not care if that is regarded as somehow homely and not hip. They are however far from playing it safe. Their lyrics are more dangerous than those of any gangsta’ rapper, who needs to call women bitches or whores.

They come through this album as really sound guys that you would want to have as your pals. They are sensitive men who are angry about huge issues. There is no narrow nationalism here. These are Scottish artists who are internationalists.

All this and sensitive love songs too. Whole wide world and Blood lying on snow are imbued with a sexy longing for physical and emotional fulfilment with someone you can love. And finally a cracking proclamation of love and commitment in Life with you. It hasn’ae been off my CD player for days. Windows down and giving it laldy – it makes going to work almost bearable.