Angela Lewis on pop

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The Independent Culture
Who is naive enough to swallow the politics of pop musicians these days? The idea that young people can find Westminster shenanigans sexy, withered and died with Red Wedge. Somebody should have reminded Noel Gallagher. When he said at the Brits Tony Blair was one of a small clutch of people bringing hope to the youth of Britain, he was being as old-fashioned as his songs. There's a new drive to encourage under-24 voting at the next general election, but anyone this age who gives a fig knows that the counter-culture rules young lives more than the once-every-five years ballot box. Politics is what stopped Tribal Gathering this year, it's about the sudden arrival of a mass-anarcho community squatting on corporate company land in Wandsworth.

So to Rage Against The Machine (right). They remember they're musicians and put out an album after a four-year gap. Personally, I think the fact they had better things to do politically and musicially than churn out half a dozen sub "Killing In The Name" unit-shifters works in their favour. You can't help feel, though, that "Evil Empire" will be their swan song. The lyrics are as deadly as Exocet missiles, the guitars are as hard and punishing as ever, but songs like "Bulls On Parade" could have come from their debut album. While vocalist Zack de la Rocha is a mighty fella, his squawks are exactly the same as previous years.

Stamping on the same spot for revolutionaries is not good, no matter how hard they do it. Their lives, once this band and music live is done with, are bound to be more fulfilling. One suspects they'll have to wait till then to change the world as much as they would like to.

Rage Against The Machine, 12 May Manchester Labatt's Apollo (0161-242 2560) 13 May Glasgow Barrowlands (0131-557 6969)

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