To download a free MP3 of Carbon/Silicon’s “What the F*&%,” click here.
Take a look at the calendar for a moment—it’s hard to believe that 30 years have passed since the Clash released their self-titled debut album in America.
An incendiary, jolting collision of punk and reggae, politics and poise, The Clash instantly set the four players in the band apart from the rest of Britain’s safety pin pack. At the head of the group dubbed “The Only Band That Matters” was guitarist-singer Mick Jones, who made up for his lack of musical skills in the early days with fearless energy, classic melodies, and a deep love for great rock and roll.
Three decades later, after working with the Clash and Big Audio Dynamite, and producing bands like the Libertines, Jones returns with an album that shows he has lost little of his punch.
Collaborating with former Generation X member Tony James under the name Carbon/Silicon, the lifelong Gibson player doesn’t waste any time putting his snarling deadpan to use on the new album. The Last Post’s opening track, “The News,” somehow recalls everything Jones has done before and then some. “Good morning, here’s the news,” he sings over one of his trademark riffs. “And all of it is good.”
Jones and James began the Carbon/Silicon project on a lark (the two originally played together years ago in the unfortunately named but seminal pre-Clash punk act London S.S.), and gave away much of their music online
long before the thought even occurred to Radiohead.
The D.I.Y. spirit spills over into the group’s first proper release, The Last Post, and not always in a good way. And underneath the Photoshop cover art and hissy production resides a surprisingly solid set of songs, driven by curt social commentary and extended guitar passages (this is some of the best playing Jones has every recorded).
No criticism of the modern world is too unimportant in spirited tunes like “The Whole Truth” and “Tell It Like It Is.” Backed by drummer Dominic Greensmith and bassist Leo “Eezykill” Williams, in “War On Culture” the frontman bluntly sings, “As hypocrites and liars adopt a moral tone/ He is without sin may as well go home.”
But thanks to Jones’ knack for commercially viable melodies (he is the one that wrote “Train In Vain” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” after all), the disc never feels labored. And when he senses things are getting too heavy, he simply reverts the wisdom of his youth: “Sure life can suck/ When living is too much/ But what the f*&%?”