If ever there was an album that you ought to experience “unspoiled”, this is it – to reveal lines, themes, twists and turns could detract from the overall presentation and journey of the 74-minute epic that is Government Issue Music Protest, or, G.I.M.P.
We are living in post-referendum Scotland, and G.I.M.P. is our state of the nation address, and we find that Loki thinks the nation is a state.
Set in a dystopian Glasgow of the future, the album covers all aspects of life, from the media and politicians, to how our relationships with each other have been affected by the current political landscape of the British government along with our own socioeconomic doings and understandings (or lack of).
There is a lot going on here, but for a feature-length album it is not as tough to endure as one might initially think, there is enough variation from the violent and bombastic ‘The End’ to the intimate and domestic ‘Rain Water’ that Darren McGarvey’s candid, confessional and impassioned delivery never tires you out.
Just when things start to calm down, ‘Revo Max’ explodes as the last third of the album begins, showing how difficult it is for an individual to balance personal issues with activism; introspection verses extrospection, often in conflict with each other.
Becci Wallace‘s influence spans the journey, constantly by your side to keep you on course as Loki rages and pleads, often without knowing where he is headed, her vocals are a strong juxtaposition, with a Portishead-esque atmosphere contrasting McGarvey’s visceral delivery.
The science-fiction imagery adds layers to an album that on the surface offers more than most of 2014’s releases as it is, and videogame fans who think a central tower surrounded by slums is a familiar image are repaid with an iconic sample.
With the country politically divided over two words, but also divided in so many ways that are not being discussed concurrently, Loki points the finger at all the flaws that exist and have existed pre-Yes/No debates.
Whether or not you connect G.I.M.P. to the referendum is up to you, the references are there, but to do so is thinking too small, Loki comes out with all drones blazing as he both attacks and examines the world around him.
Not only is Government Issue Music Protest one of 2014’s best releases, it is also one of the most important.
Words: Scott Wilson