The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – A Covid judgement day

By Oliver Burton

In the midst of every crisis, there is always a point of no return, a turning point, a game changer, a time with which the the consequences of our actions fully can be realised. It is then that we are confronted with the truest notion of reality…

This week’s Soundtrack to the Apocalypse sees Manchester quintet Document drag us out of the warm comfort of our own mindlessness. Undressing the layers upon layers of false optimism, ‘The Spy Who Came in From the Cold’ is a brutal catharsis that after just one innocent bite, leaves the listener basking in the naked ugly truth that surrounds them.

Beginning with a choir of guitar feedback, the song swiftly reaches a summit with the the grumble of the bass and a tampered-with with vocal. With six string abrasions littered throughout the song, the powerless listener must sit and take his punishment. “The stubborn line of his thin mouth and attractive muscular face, he looked like a man who could make trouble”. The lyrics evoke an uncomfortable grit, and once in place, cast an overwhelming authority over the music. As if from the mouth of a callous dictator, every syllable can be felt down your spine and beneath your nails.

“Orchestrated death will reveal my head to explode. I’m the Sky Who Came In from the Cold”. After thrusting endless tension down the throats of their subjects, the three minute mark comes with an emphatic release. At this point it all starts to make sense, everything has added up to here, a reckoning of anguish and pain. In just over four and a half minutes, Document remove all the trappings with which we want to see, and point to us the ones we surely do not. With the world around us seemingly on the road to implosion, it seems breaking news and twitter speculation is the currency we exchange as the closest thing to truth. But listening to a track like The Spy, your eyes are opened to what’s really there.

We spoke briefly with the band about how they’re coping. “We’re all isolating in our respective homes, trying not to go mental. It’s truly surreal how things have panned out over the last few months”. “If society ends up unravelling into a Mad Max-esque situation, we’re going to build a well fortified base just outside of Manchester. Plenty of tinned goods and Galahad lager will be knocking about”. In times of hysteria, we should be grateful for bands such as Document for keeping our brains in check, not succumbing to “fake news” or anything from Piers Morgan’s twitter account.

Even though there are signs of Document’s faith towards their post punk contemporaries (i won’t waste your time with examples), it’s an undeniable truth that they exist outside of the mould of those sat beside them. Songs from their discography such as ‘Pity’ add further clarity to the Document sound. These guys are seldom the sort to daintily dip their toes into a genre and make it colourful and joyous for everyone to see. They’re not selling punk to the masses underneath romantic visions of politics or of society. Their brand of “character driven lyricism” is purposeful, and doesn’t draw our attention too far from the music, and, given the quality of the music, that’s probably a good thing.

Thanks for reading and stay inside.