A horrible hack

Grey Hairs

Health & Social Care

Year Released: 2019
Format: LP
Label: Gringo
 
Reviewed by Alex Deller on Sep 4, 2019
Here is a thing that so many monied, ostensibly kind-hearted people don't really seem to understand: the real tragedy of Austerity Britain isn't solely to be found in the occasional inspiring, heroic or crushingly sad struggle-against-adversity stories that manage to leach into national newspapers, but in the quiet yet relentless erosion of services relied upon by people who lack the means to explain how much they need them. This, basically, means that if you're young and vulnerable, you're fucked. It means that if you're old and vulnerable, you're fucked. It means that if you're a carer who relies on occasional fleeting respite to preserve your sanity, you're fucked. It means that if you need housing, or help getting away from an abusive partner, or access to sexual health advice, or the chance to speak to a therapist so you don't hurl yourself under a train, you're fucked. It mean if you want to feed your family, you might have to track down a food bank or else risk being fucked. Heck, if you rely on something as quietly, blandly British as access to a local library so you can do your homework in peace or because you want to be around other human beings for a while without spending any money, you're also pretty fucked.

Grey Hairs have put together an album that drips with this deep sense of fuckedness. Yes, the music is vital and exciting, but it's also impossibly weary and disgusted with what the brutal, unending Toryscape has meant for regular human beings. It slouches and lurches, sick to its guts and unable to quite make sense of things, twisting uncertainly around itself in a way that's by turns blunt and jagged, ugly and beautiful, powered not by the belief that their punk rock can change the world but that if they don't at least make some sort of effort then something inside them will collapse, rupture, atrophy or go irreversibly bad. There's Pissed Jeans, Scratch Acid, Cherubs and Laughing Hyenas all swilling around in here like bad apples bobbing in barrel of brackish rainwater, but more than anything 'Health & Social Care' is its own rare thing: an odd, idiosyncratic, singular release that, to glibly use a well-burnished phrase that's nevertheless appropriate given the curdled political context, really shouldn't be left to slip through the cracks.


Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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