Single review by KevW
Apparently Rennes Les Bains Clan are a collective from a mountain community in the south of France, although the architect is UK-born Woody Saunderson and they sound more like an interesting spin-off from London's urban scene. Their debut single 'What You Fighting For' is being released by excellent Scottish independent label Flowers In The Dustbin, an imprint generally associated with more indie/rock type bands. This lot, whether from France, London, Glasgow or elsewhere, are another quality find. Protest songs are often despicable, ill-informed acoustic ramblings, devoid of any real message, but in the right hands (as proved by current Mercury Music Prize winner PJ Harvey) they can be incredibly powerful and moving. 'What You Fighting For' definitely falls into that category.
This is a trans-genre sound, the vicious political rap could be lifted from the grime scene but is informed and eloquent with it. Musically these guys are tapping into classic ska and two-tone; it's difficult to listen to this track without being reminded of The Beat or The Specials. It's balance that really makes this work, the aggression, musicianship, groove and style are all carefully matched so they don't end up fighting for space, instead this is carefully thought through. Politically-charged songs always run the risk of isolating people who look to music for escapism and fun, and despite the heavy lyrical nature, Rennes Les Bains Clan have come up with a killer tune to back the message. Righteous but not self-righteous, hard-hitting but fun, serious yet danceable; somehow they've managed to tick far more boxes than you'd think possible.
Rennes Les Bains Clan's website
Buy the single
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