Angela Lewis on pop

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The Independent Online
The most dynamic offering on techno dub outfit Zion Train's fifth album Grow Together is "Babylon's Burning (repetitive beats mix)". Yes, it's the old Ruts punk classic, but with the 1970s guitars stripped away and a juggernaut of hard, frenetic beats in their place. The fiery spirit and "Babylon's Burning" rant remains, but in a mid-1990s context. The other telling thing about Zion Train is their magazine called The Wobbler (Universal Egg & the Wibbly Wobbly World of Music). No, stop sniggering - included among the 22 protest groups' addresses which are mentioned on the back page are Reclaim the Streets, Cannabis Hemp Information Club, Hunt Sabs Association and Road Alert. They are not simply a band - they are a way of life.

Most interestingly, Zion Train (right) are perhaps symbolic of the fracturing of the Left consensus over the last 10 years. The Labour Party acquired corporate-businessmen smiles and lurched to the Right, while the under- 30s grasped counter-culture lifestyles, became everything from rave organisers to eco-warriors to cyber-industry anarchists. When the election comes around, the Labour Party makes young people some tantalising offers: 20- year student loans, the possibility of 10pm curfews and workfare in place of benefits. Once upon a time, Left dwellers like Zion Train would have lent full support. Nowadays, they will probably be otherwise engaged. This summer, doubtless, they'll be in a festival field near you.

Zion Train, Manchester Nia Centre (0161-227 9254) tomorrow; Plymouth Cooperage (01752 229 275) 10 Jun; Exeter Cavern (01392 495 370) 11 Jun; Leicester University (0116-255 5166) 13 Jun

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