It’s a sad state of affairs when a protest song that is tied to a certain point in time can retain its poignancy and relevance years on. Full of despair and agony, PJ Harvey’s indomitable 2011 record Let England Shake was a major talking point for how arresting its frank depictions of war in the Middle East, the migrant crisis and societal ills in England were. To this day, it remains one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the last decade, and sadly, part of that is down to how true to reality its message has remained.
Noticing the potency of Harvey’s opus, Bristol punks The Pleasure Dome have released a furious cover of album highlight ‘The Glorious Land’ in support of Refugee Action, with all proceeds from streaming and sales going towards the charity. Delivering a raw and jagged take on a song that originally invoked a more pastoral sound, the group are accompanied by a veritable selection of cult heroes from their hometown and beyond including the likes of Wych Elm, Yowl and October Drift. Thrashing guitars atop a pummelling drumbeat add to the song’s message of urgency, and the vocal ensemble on the chorus offers a sense of togetherness in fighting for a better future.
In terms of the influence behind the cover, vocalist and guitarist Bobby Spender claimed that a coincidental moment where the album was playing in the background as he watched in despair at the recent news of migrants crossing the channel really allowed the lyrical themes and emotion attached to the song ring true. In essence, the devastating impact of the song still remains strong as ever, and it feels as though there’s no better way to reintroduce it to the forefront of everyone’s minds with a furious version that’s simply too good to ignore.
Words: Reuben Cross
Stream ‘The Glorious Land’ below. You can also donate to Refugee Action here.