The Refusers – Wake Up America
The Refusers deliver politically charged rock that clearly has a passionate vision to get a message across.
Looking back to all those years ago when Rage Against The Machine were tearing up the scene, challenging the status quo with their blistering lyrics and murderous melodies, even those guys hit a point where they had to step back and ask: is this really working? Every musician wants to change the music with their tunes, but how realistic is it?
The Refusers have a relatively defined sound strapped into their arsenal, although it can be at times harsh, as if the listener is being shouted at rather than communicated with. Unfortunately the lyrics are as heavy handed as the music, preferring to use clunky literalism that veers towards a Trumpist ‘Make America Great Again’ sensibility. Some more abstract concepts and imagery would go a long way. Instead what we are left with is brash propagrada.
There is a moment of intrigue on ‘You Won’t Read It In The NY Times’, a jazzier number with some honky tonk piano and parping trumpets that serve to distract from the lyrics; “You won’t read it in the NY Times / CNN will dumb down your mind /Mainstream media is all commercials /They’ll kill a story if it’s controversial.”
It’s hard to say quite where The Refusers sit in terms of how to pitch them as a band. Musically there isn’t any reliable consistency to be able to define their sound, while the lack of subtlety in their message makes listening somewhat awkward.