Warning: This recording contains songs of protest, sung by members of the working class, that some listeners may find offensive.
Most recordings don’t come with such an explicit statement of intent but this isn’t most recordings. This is the new EP by Only Child, the musical vehicle of Alan O’Hare, a veteran of the Liverpool music scene. He wants you to know what you’re getting into. He wants you to open your ears.
This is a 5 song EP that has a common thread running through it. That thread is anger; at inequality, at injustice and unfairness. These are protest songs. These are personal songs.
First song The Likes of Us sets the scene. Identity politics to a driving beat. Short, catchy and meaningful. To me it speaks of lack of control and the frustrations of class divide.Serious stuff. I’m not offended yet though.
Up next is the title track. Another driving song this time about dishonesty and lack of trust. A song for our times. Politicians we’re looking at you.
The pace eases off for the third song Saturday Morning. This is a melodic reflection on alcohol and the perils thereof. This made me think of Orwellian control. Keep the people happy and you can get away with anything. Nice tune too.
My Country is the World name checks Thomas Paine, a figure from the American Revolution famous for the pamphlet Common Sense; something that can seem in short supply at times.
The final song North John Street is my favourite song and it seems to be the most personal. Based on the true story of a man who lived in a doorway on North John Street who then simply died of being cold and homeless. Some things are a disgrace and have always been a disgrace. You should listen.
Political music sometimes attracts accusations of preaching, or humourlessness or a lack of subtlety. This collection of songs is not like that. These are protest songs. They are tuneful and serious and meaningful. Music might not be able to change the world but it can help us focus on what’s important and entertain us at the same time.
Only Child – Working Class is available to buy now. It’s about you and for you. I hope you’re listening.
Denis Parkinson is a singer songwriter based in Liverpool. He performed at Liverpool Acoustic Festival 2016 and Threshold Festival 2016. He performed at the Liverpool Acoustic Kazimier Garden afternoon as part of LIMF 2015 and played at the Lantern Theatre, Liverpool, for We Shall Overcome 2015. He was a finalist in the Liverpool Acoustic Songwriting Challenge 2014 and 2015. He plays regularly in and around Liverpool and has a longstanding enthusiasm for music of all kinds. In 2015 he released an album titled “Liverpool Skyline”. In real life he works as a lecturer at University of Liverpool.