For almost ten years Bad Breeding has been the voice of the isolated and the disenfranchised. Hailing from Stevenage, UK, the four piece have long since raged at the state of Great Britain, both socially and politically, showing disdain towards 12 years of Conservative administration and the exploitative nature of capitalism. Following on from 2019’s ‘Exiled’, the quartet have returned with another bludgeoning attack to the senses in the shape of their fourth LP ‘Human Capital’.
Akin to its predecessors Bad Breeding’s latest record is a ferocious punk assault, channelling the likes of early punk pioneers, Crass and with a dash of NY hardcore, the sense of ire and frustration is palpable. To accompany the album’s release, long term collaborator Jake Farrell has penned a 2,000 word essay that delivers a manifesto (of sorts) and a rationale behind the record’s core message. Via a snippet from the accompanying dossier Farrell explains “we are marooned on our islands of self-obsession by cultural forces that emphasise our differences, keep us apart and suspicious of one another. It feels as though in recent years, especially during the immediate onslaught of austerity following the 2008 financial crisis, that the idea of community itself was under attack.”
Across 12 tracks and 35 unrelenting minutes Bad Breeding (made up of Chris Dodd (vocals), Angus Grannagé (guitar), Charlie Rose (bass) and Ashlea Bennett (drums)) deliver an album of pure fury and aggression which is epitomised by the foursome’s uncompromising punk discordance. Such is the wall of noise the band creates it’s sometimes hard to decipher what Dodd is attempting to communicate through his hoarse bark. Despite this, make no mistake, you know Dodd and his cohort are raging about something and I’m not talking about something trivial either. Most of ‘Human Capital’ hurtles through the badlands between punk and hardcore at death-defying speeds, although there are the occasional pauses for breath when the outfit dip into a slow, lumbering post-punk crawl. However, these pockets of calm are short lived with a blast of caustic anger waiting round the corner to smash you over the skull again.
Centred on the notion that togetherness and compassion is almost seen as being a relic of a by-gone time, Bad Breeding rage for the preservation of community and the theory that there’s strength in numbers. To pinch another passage from Farrell’s essay “our lives are not to be managed like we are each a plucky start-up, not to be measured in the emotional profit and loss that we can extract from our relationships and those around us. We don’t need to invest time and energy on capital projects of the self on some doomed, linear journey to self-actualisation.”
There’s the famous Margaret Thatcher quote from 1987 that dismisses the idolism of society “I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And you know, there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first.” Bad Breeding and ‘Human Capital’ are the antithesis of Thatcher’s uncompassionate rhetoric, they believe in the power and unity of communities and of society itself. And while the UK and the rest of the world continues to champion self-obsession and narcissism, Bad Breeding
will remain vehemently opposed to it.
Order Human Capital by Bad Breeding HERE
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