There’s much music that evokes memories of my uni days, but this is the first that puts me back into my American politics classes. A band from Warrington, Extradition Order are the class swots who see the threads of American history (and even include a list of recommended authors), from WW2 to the end of the 60s, and knit a concept album from them, taking in the rise of JFK via the assassinations of the Kennedys to the coronation of Nixon and the end of the Camelot dreams.
If the central theme of their third album is clearly defined, the music is a dark mix of electronica, dance and post-punk with a strong hit of bitterness. The angular dance-rock of ‘I Love An Eyesore (LBJ ’60)’ tells the tale of Lyndon B Johnson missing the Democratic nomination which he thought a formality, while the creepy, confessional ‘Nixon ‘68’ uses Death In Vegas-style dance rhythms (DiV’s Ian Button produces). ‘Killing Presidents’ is yowling garage rock with Iggy vocals while ‘Bobby’, about Bobby Kennedy learning of his brother’s assassination from J Edgar Hoover, is post-punk with lots of Nick Cave-style testifying. Most moving is ‘Rosemary’, about the Kennedy sibling who had a frontal lobotomy in 1941 and was then kept out of the public eye for the next half a century.
The album is a testimony to their enthusiasm for a key period of history but musically is less consistent than thematically (and nothing works as well as the samples of JFK’s speech on ‘Inauguration’, which is still awesome). The vocals too are an acquired taste (being generous, which others may not be, I’d liken them to David Thomas) but overall this as an ambitious project that aims for the moon and occasionally reaches it.