If you have any memory at all, you remember that two years ago I already posted an Ep from The Next World. The least brave among you would remember it as that ghastly postpunk band with a drum machine, while the open-minded would be fond of saying that they were an original, unique even, anarchist punk band with a great sense of melody and top politics. And a fucking drum machine.
French punks have a long-lasting, if tumultuous, love relationship with drum machines. In fact, there have been countless bands using that device throughout the years so that, over here, it is pretty much a French subgenre. There could be two reasons for that: the usual shortage of drummers and our own crappy tastes in punk-rock. Both phenomena combined gave birth to more than a few atrocious bands trying really hard to be the Béruriers Noirs and scaring decent foreign bands out of touring here.
But have no fear, despite the drum machine, The Next World belongs to the "quality punk-rock" in my book. After all, Cress also uses one, right? As for the accurate introduction to the band, I refer to the aforementioned earlier review (right here). Bouncy, bass-driven mid-tempo anarcho-gothpunk with a singer reminsicent of Southern Death Cult and a music akin to Smartpils, late Revulsion, Terminus and even Amebix. The music has a dark and moody quality but remains energetic and potent as you can feel the singer firmly believes in what the band stands for. You have rather upbeat parts followed by melancholy dirges, as if reflecting the need to react and protest but still feeling powerless before the task. The guitar has a crispy, earthy sound but it is really the bass that should hold your attention here: heavy, driving, with some terrific leads. Despite the drum machine, or maybe because of it, the songs are well-structured and behind their apparent simplicity you can hear that the band really thought them through, even more so than on their previous Ep. Still, The Next World is very much a Marmite band. You will either love it or loathe it.
Politically, The Next World was certainly an articulate band and I really appreciate their down-to-earth approach to the issues at stake. Ironically, they have a song against fascism, "The rising tide of fascism", mentioning Le Pen (or rather "Le Penn"!) and his attempt at "trying to create a respectable disguise". That was in 1989. A rather remarkable insight about the evolution of the European far-rights in the decades that would follow. "Answers in bullets" is a class war anthem tackling the alienation and manipulation spawned by the ruling-class in order to create a fake sense of togetherness, in this case through foreign interventions and the arms race. "Soft cop" is about social control and how social workers and union leaders also play a policing role in maintaining the social peace and the status-quo. "New reality" is about media distorsion or how the mainstream media present the news through a particular and ideological scope, through omission or purposeful confusion, and are always on the side of the authorities.
My favourite ones are "The British idea" and "Resurgence" (actually, you could see "Resurgence" as the last part of one song, the first two parts of which would be "Liberty" and "Powerless"). "The British idea" is a rather despressive number, both musically and lyrically. It is very much about despair, how we swallow preconceived lies while being half-aware of it, just because we are too scared to act and be left behind. "Sleepwalking through the reasons for our dependence. / Misplacinganger, falling short of the causes." Powerful stuff and some references to Thatcher's austerity policies (that still rings a bell, doesn't it?). "Resurgence" is a threatening and yet positive song about revolt, class inustice and the possiblity of another world. The next world? Probably not. But still, it is a good song to sing along to in this new dark age.
This Lp is the sole vinyl album from the band in the 80's although they had released two tape albums prior to that in 1986 and 1987. Apparently, the band changed its name to VR later on and released another Lp on Flat Earth records in 1995.