“No liberal leftie c**t is going to tell me that punching Nazis ain’t the way. If you wanna hold hands and sing, go do it over there while the big boys play…”
London grime punks Bob Vylan have never been afraid to speak uncomfortable truths. The duo’s 2020 debut album, We Live Here, offered a blunt, uncompromising state-of-the-nation address, calling out racism, police brutality, the marginalisation of the working class and discrimination in all its forms across British society.
Pretty Songs, the band’s new single, is equally unapologetic, skewering the UK music community’s token gestures towards racism and oppression, and calling out so-called ‘activists’ and ‘allies’ who shy away from directly confronting these issues while serving up meaningless supportive slogans.
“The song was inspired by the growing conversations around passive and non-violent resistance to structures of oppression,” the band tell Louder. “And seeing bands talk about changing the world by essentially holding hands and sending out ‘positive vibes’ just stinks of privilege. We see everyday how various structures of oppression act violently towards society, but tell the same people to peacefully protest and patiently await change as they quote Martin Luther King Jr.”
‘We’ve never been a band that’s shy to talk about the world as we see it. We could write songs that aren’t so direct, we could write songs that don’t make some people feel uncomfortable but that’s not what we’re here to do.”
The single is being released on Bob Vylan’s own label Ghost Theatre.
“We have plans of building it into more than a label but a community focused initiative to help alternative artists take control of their music in a fair and empowering way,” the band say. “We are the first artists on the label and will use ourselves to prove the power of independence, which is what we’re doing with a sold out tour and Independently funded releases on par with that of machine backed releases.”
The track’s in-your-face video was inspired by Nicolas Winding Refn's Bronson, we’re told: “Director Dylan Hayes did an incredible job helping us put an original spin on it,” the duo note.
Bob Vylan have upcoming shows at the following locations:
Aug 28: Reading Festival
Aug 29: Leeds Festival
Aug 30: London Alt LDN
Sep 11: Torquay Burn It Down Festival, The Foundry
Sep 26: Bristol Attitude Festival, The Exchange
Oct 08: Wrexham TY Pawb Arts Hub
Dec 11: Birmingham Sonic Wav Festival, O2 Institute