Together for a few years now The White Ribbons formed to help spread the word on behalf of www.whiteribbon.org.uk , to stand up against bullying, harassment and violence against women by males. They’ve played Rebellion Punk Festival twice, in 2018 and 2019 and recently announced they’ll be returning in 2020. My first introduction to them was The Introducing Stage at The Great British Alternative Music Festival back in October where, to be honest, they took my breath away. The White Ribbons deliver songs with melody, tunes you can jump around to. It took seconds for the place to be buzzing. “Beautiful.” said one person. But listen carefully and you realise how full of anger, passion and love this band is. Following on from their previously released 3 track cd The White Ribbons release Leftovers / S.O.P.H.I.E at the end of January and continue their ability to deliver songs that can make you feel heartbroken/emotionally charged/joyous at exactly the same time. Brian Mitchell’s vocals tug at you. At times he sounds just like Bowie (a comment I made in a previous live review), a perfect match for ‘Leftovers’, the slower of the two songs. Indeed the song is a lament to the death of Bowie and references both Major Tom and Heroes. But it’s so much more than that. It’s for everyone who is left behind following the loss of a loved one, keeping our love for them alive by talking about them. Atmospheric guitars and heartbeat bass give way to a soaring noise as “Doesn’t matter how you left us, Doesn’t matter where you’ve gone, Doesn’t matter if I tell myself that I still can’t believe, He’s the cruellest of the thieves.” stops you in your tracks.
S.O.P.H.I.E is faster, punkier. Making sure the memory of Sophie Lancaster – senselessly and tragically murdered in an unprovoked attack in August 2007 simply because she looked different – doesn’t fade. Slicing guitars and pounding drums roll into moments of deep thoughtfulness. S.O.P.H.I.E bounces along in the way every decent slice of jump around punk pop should do. Yet this is a perfect example of The White Ribbons brilliant knack of lulling you into the punk-party spirit then reminding you we’re surrounded by some serious social issues. It’s not just about keeping one person in our thoughts. It’s a call to make sure hate crime in any form is tackled and eradicated.
Neither ‘Leftovers’ nor ‘S.O.P.H.I.E’ are typical 3 minute punk. Both clock in at over 4 minutes. But what an important 8+ minutes to start the new year with. Listen to them, buy them and spread the word. Brilliant.
Leftovers/S.O.P.H.I.E will be self-released on January 31st and available on digital platforms. CDs will be available at upcoming gigs which are as follows:
11th Jan 2020 Uttoxeter with Vomit
19th Jan 2020 Coalville Victoria Abuse Your Confusion Tour (AYC) with Kid Klumsy
25th Jan 2020 Black Bull, Gateshead. AYC with Kid Klumsy
26th Jan 2020 Star and Garter, Manchester. AYC with Kid Klumsy
2nd Feb. 2020 King Billy, Northampton. AYC with Kid Klumsy
7th Feb. 2020 SORM Studios, Bradford. AYC with Kid Klumsy
8th Feb. 2020 Waterloo Bar – Blackpool. AYC with Kid Klumsy
7th March 2020 Mad Fest Leicester
The White Ribbons – Facebook
Listen to their previous 3 track single here.
Review by Steve White
Main Image (Cover Art): The White Ribbons
Live Photos: John W. King (Butlins Great British Alternative Music Festival)