Opposition, The – Breaking the silence

And now it’s 1981… and The Opposition, three guys from the southern suburbs of London, release their debut album “Breaking the Silence”. After a first single in 1979 and two more singles they think the time is ripe for an album. Their music fits perfectly in with the postpunk sound and the cold war climate. Nine passionate songs are included on the album, dealing with war, passive consumption culture, paranoia and despair.

Twenty years later, in 2001, “Breaking the Silence” is finally released on cd, with two bonus tracks. And The Opposition, who kept on releasing albums till the early 90’s, in varying styles, line-ups and success (mostly in France), are also back in business again. A completely new album is announced for late 2003. I wonder if they can reach the magical level and spirit of their debut again. Because ” Breaking the Silence” is a very strong album. It sounds nostalgic now, taking you two decades back, but the passion still sounds alive. I wonder why they did not reach the same level of popularity of some of their contemporaries.

Haunting, spacious guitars, a cold bass, some moody synths and steady drums form a solid base, on top of which Mark Long sings with a lot of conviction and some pathos at times. There is a feeling of naive romanticism, but also of deeply meant longings. I have to think of early U2, Killing Joke, The Chameleons, New Model Army, or The Comsat Angels. Strangily enough the vocals on “Black and White’ remind me of early Duran Duran. But enough namedropping, The Opposition are convincingly enough themselves.

Most songs are mid-tempo and a little restrained, though at times The Opposition prove that they can rock too. Their songs take multiple listening turns before really ‘reaching’ you. Often the sound of The Opposition is rather barren and cold, sometimes even somewhat eerie. Highlights are ‘Paddy Fields’ and the title track ‘Breaking the Silence’. Towards the end a few rather slow songs make me long for something stronger. But then comes the bonustrack ‘She said’, which is perhaps the most raw rocking track of this re-release. The album is ended by the second bonustrack ‘Open the Door’ a claustrophobic minimal song, led by a throbbing bass.

“Outside’s confusion
It’s safer inside
Why don’t you stay here
until the fog clears”

Postpunk music from the heart, which is still touching in the 21st century. I hope this re-release will help keeping The Opposition known for later generations.

Distributed by Red Sun Records.

artist: Opposition, The
label: mrsJones records
details: 11 tracks