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Geraint Rhys And The Lost Generation - All That Is Left Is Us (Album Review)

Friday, 19 June 2015 Written by Dave Ball

If there's one good thing about the nonsense that surrounds an election, it's the accompanying burst of creativity so often generated by those who feel disillusioned by it all. The latest in a long line of artists putting across an anti-austerity point of view is South Wales' Geraint Rhys and his band, The Lost Generation.

Inspired in equal parts by the songs of Joe Strummer and Bob Dylan, the poetry of Dylan Thomas and his experiences working in social welfare, ‘All That Is Left Is Us’ is a very accomplished debut, one that shows an ear for folk melodies and heartfelt messages in the more contemporary vein of Frank Turner and Sam Duckworth.

The Lost Generation would fit snugly on an Admiral Fallow record, with Rhys setting out his stall early on with the line: “Only the privileged can save us.” References to John Cale and Paul Robeson further emphasise the politics of Rhys' writing, which are never more direct than on album highlight Klein's Decline. 

Here the government is decried for its treatment of the working classes: “The poor can't be bothered to fight no more.” Its rallying cry of a chorus implores us: “Break down these walls, we want a revolution.”

Elsewhere, significantly more subtlety is shown. Eternal Sunshine and Your Sound have the same political undertones while, on the surface, they are also personal stories of needing to be loved. Salvation's Ship provides atmospheric poignancy at the album’s midway point, with space to breathe around the forcefulness of the lyric. Closing with a nod to his Welsh language roots, Ble Mae'r Haul, the record ends as it began, describing concerns for the future while retaining the air of hope that resonates throughout.

‘All That Is Left Is Us’ is the product of a mind full of worry and contradictory feelings. On one hand, there is frustration and anger towards those who don't see or acknowledge the everyday struggles of so many people in this age of austerity, but on the other there is a sense of wonder and beauty.

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