Even Stevie Wonder could see it by 1972 – just how f**ed up everything was, particularly if you were stuck in the ghetto, and the whole world was a ghetto in 1972, even that quaint, white, dull as death suburb you called home. Yet there was still hope, there had to be, because the music was just so beautiful.
In which the band known as Spear of Destiny deliver some seriously Big Music. U2 started the trend, sort of. The Waterboys put a name to it. Any number of bands played it through the 80s. Not just big in terms of sound, but also intention. Change the world. Overthrow kings. Right what is wrong. Tell the truth. Praise God (or whoever). Much of it ended up being pretty embarrassing, of course, but every now and then you just couldn’t argue with the power, the passion, the enormity. Like Liberator. “Exactly what you needed to hear in 1984, what with Big Brother officially on the move and all.” (Philip Random)
“It was 1984 finally, and the nightmare of George Orwell’s Big Brother hadn’t really materialized. True, there was great evil in the world, agents of brutality and control endeavoring to shut down all peace-beauty-freedom-love forever. But the outcome was still in doubt, because they didn’t yet have music under control. They weren’t even close. Maybe they had the mainstream (the Whitney Houstons, the Duran Durans, the Huey Lewises and Phil Collinses), but who the f*** cared about that crap with wild and inventive stuff erupting all over the margins, from all genres in all kinds of guises. Case in point, the Maffia, c/o Mark Stewart and On-U Sound (and its mainman, producer, knob-twiddler, dub adventurer, Adrian Sherwood), none of whom I noticed until 1984’s Pay It All Back Vol.1 crash-landed in my brain – a label sampler offering all manner of tortured beats, breaks, samples, meltdowns long before we even had names for such stuff. At least Hallelujah had a familiar melody you could hang onto.” (Philip Random)