Narrow Margin: Urban Hell

A new single from Manchester’s Narrow Margin has been a long time coming, and in customary style, the new track, Urban Hell, is an uncompromising biting statement of frustration and anger. Let’s face it, there’s so many injustices and wrongs that it’s right to highlight some of them.

Musically Narrow Margin here give me something of a feel for London Calling era The Clash. I think it might be that classic combination of crisp angry guitar, solid beats and then the deep forceful growl of lead singer Ian Spiller. There’s a heap of power here.

The song itself exposes the trap we are drawn into, low wages and an encouragement to buy our happiness through consuming fashion and goods, while we accept our place in the world. Of course that yearning for more and more consumables sucks you into the pressure to conform, to work harder and accept your ‘it’s never enough’ envy led place in the world. Meanwhile someone further up in the chain is coining it in.

The image for the track has a tasty Richey Edwards vibe with Ian shirtless, sporting striking scribbled body slogans. This is the ironic conundrum for me. If we show some spark, we become aspirations for others and so the very force of being anti establishment (for example) becomes subsumed into the original problem. As Ian says “We’ve got bodies to sell, so we might as well“. Hahaha, I speak as a person with a spare room filled with 45 years of indie vinyl.

The final plea in the song is ‘give me some poetry’. The situation where we are controlled is too hard to face, so like Richey the answer is perhaps to learn and to reflect through the written word. Our Richey was known to consume ideas at a rate of knots, up to 6 books a day.

When you think, the message in Urban Hell is too tough, but regardless, even if the system of consumerism will outlive all of us, we need to be aware of it. Besides, perhaps this plump boy could volunteer for the next photo shoot if the lads need space for a much wider and longer message.

Chris R

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