R.I.P. to Asian Jungle Punk

The London-based Asian Dub Foundation used to be one of my favorite bands. They brought out 3 solid albums over the space of 7 years, each with its own distinct flavor and brilliance, and their live shows were among the most powerful I have ever seen. Their energy on stage was simply infectious, completely void of any commercial or “trying too hard” vibes that ruin most concerts. When asked to describe their music, they replied, “Asian Jungle Punk.” That was pretty much the coolest thing I had ever heard in a band interview, and a fitting description, as well.
So you know how all good things come to an end, right?
Two main things went wrong after their third album: They lost their frontman Deeder and replaced him with two completely annoying twats (who need to split their predecessor’s lyrics between the two of them in order to match the pace of his songs), and they got ridiculously political, with a decidedly anti-American streak.
In fact, the last time I saw them (at Osaka’s Mother Hall), for their 4th album tour, they started chanting “Fuck Bush” in between songs and basically derided the US as the Great Satan, which was an unpleasant slap in the face, especially for someone who really likes their music and could ignore their politics up until that point (also, it was kind of odd that their own country’s leader (a certain T. Blair) and role in Iraq got a total pass during the Bushfucking, but whatever – like I said, the new guys are twats and didn’t seem very bright anyway).
Even though the fourth album had a couple of good tracks and the instrumental side of the band still kicked ass, the performance I witnessed that night forced me to admit the inevitable: ADF was dying. Barring serious changes, the band would spiral deeper and deeper into the sea of sucktitude, carrying everything with them. It was just a matter of time until my fears were confirmed…
Last month, they released a new album called Tank. “Tank,” as in, M1 Abrams in Iraq… I did not buy it because I really hate paying for an album just to confirm that it does indeed suck as badly as you thought. However, I came upon the torrent for it last weekend and burned it to CD after downloading. I am basically writing this post in case there are other long-time Asian Dub Foundation fans out there debating whether to buy the new album (1.) in memory of what once was a Fucking Great Band, or (2.) in hopes there might be one or two redeeming tracks. To be rather blunt:
(1.) DO NOT.

4 thoughts on “R.I.P. to Asian Jungle Punk

  1. Similar thing happened to me when I saw Us3 at the Tokyo Blue Note… everyone is groovin’ to the music and then one of the singers just starts chanting “stop Bush” or some such.
    Did he really think not a single member of his audience might be offended, or did he just not care? I’m guessing the latter.

  2. i should also say that it was along the same lines of what you were saying. either i used the f-word too many, or bitched about the English & how some of them conveniently manage to forget that they’re the ones who created this morass of destabilization in the first place.

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