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Seize the day "All hands that are Ready" Wildwood CD10109

The sentiments on this, the second CD by Seize the day, are very much in keeping with their first, and resonate with the concerns expressed in recent events such as Jonathan Pilgers "The New rulers of the World" TV documentary, and with the more thoughtful of the protesters at the G8 meeting in Genoa, and as such it expresses views that must inevitably grow - Pilger for instance classes the current concerns as the most important and wide spread dissent since the 1960s concerns with Vietnam.

Sadly I have to report that the album isn't as coherent a work as the former one, and I'll come back to that. On the positive side, the vocals of the group overall are good, with Shannon Smy being a singer to reckon with, with more going for her than mere prettiness of voice, with a sensitivity that ensures the most subtle nuances of the subject she's singing about are captured. She's also one of the better songwriters in the group, and with co-songwriter Theo Simon rattle off one of the most impressive pieces of wordsmithery in "Food 'n' Health 'n' Hope". All the more surprising, therefore to find the latters hand well steeped in the two worst tracks. The first of these is "Ned Ludd" where the aim is to "reclaim" from it's status as insult the word "Luddite" which it fails to do, instead giving ammunition to those who will want to point to such protest as having no viable alternative - what a gift to the other side. Worse still is the sneery "Lucky" that looks down on the average working person who spends some of his/her working life acquiring objects of pleasure such as a car or caravan, and according to the writer are then -

"Free to plunder every season and every place, So we can waste what we'll never taste" etc etc.

I find such clever - clever moral superiority misplaced, and am not about to be preached at by someone who has been involved in "wasteful" activities (using his own criteria) such as turning out a lavishly packaged non-essential product (the CD), and having been involved in tranatlantic travel to the USA with the band. Unless Simon can argue that both activities are essential to the well being of the human race to a degree where they override conservationists concerns, there is no difference in him and those he decries for their wastefulness. In fact he does seem to argue just this double standard in "The price of petrol":

"I didn't learn to drive till I was thirty I swore I'd never join those hypocrites Now looking back I'm glad I did How else would I get to the gigs Where we sing songs about how bad it is"

Don't do as I do - do as I say. There's a job with Tony waiting for this anyone with this degree of grandiosity, but for ordinary Joes like me who don't like being talked down to, immediate turnoff is signalled. Which is a pity, because I still feel that this is a group with something to say, about concerns that people are coming too slowly to recognise. If they are satisfied to preach to an adoring and non-critical converted, (who are as much applauding their own cleverness as anything else), instead of reaching out to the non-converted then I wouldn't waste my time reviewing them, but I believe there is more to them than that -they've made mistakes on this album, but there is a helluva lot of good on it too, and a group in development, warts and all, is always a more exciting thing to listen to than a static one, however perfect.

Hector Christie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 45 of The Living Tradition magazine.