Is this the best rock n roll album of the year? Sure, it’s only February but we’ve checked that Kanye West is not around so now’s as good a time as any to start dishing out controversial accolades.
I hereby declare this 13th studio album by this once Leicestershire now London based trio, the best rock n roll album of the year.
There’s a raft of reasons for this bold declaration. In part it’s the uplifting high tempo tracks full of awesome guitar riffs, with the opening on Pea Green Coat among many standouts with Dr Feelgood pub rock feel.
It is also the attention to detail in guitarist and lead vocalist David Tattersell’s marvellous lyrics, such as on Telephone where the bleary eyed protagonist of the song is in a sleeping bag in a hallway at “The Pattersons” listening to the telephone ring three storeys up while looking at the “cigar smoke circle on a blood red wall”.
There’s a strong focus on story telling across the album as well which makes it utterly likeable as each track’s narrator seemingly stumbles through bizarre situations, romance, hungover stupors, hallways of giant homes and police cells.
The addition of painter, musician and all round arty chap Billy Childish on co-writing and co-production duties is clearly a key factor in its energy and strength. Another is it being a natural extension of their down and dirty blues influenced previous album City Forgiveness. The two Creedence Clearwater Rivival covers Sinister Purpose and Green River on this album act as a nice nod back to that album.
It feels tightly controlled under Childish’s direction as well with the songs never wearing out their welcome and Tattersall’s excellent guitar solos kept shorter to give them an even more dramatic effect. Childish is also responsible for Pea Green Coat’s incredible opening riff, possibly the album’s best moment.
Bring all this together and it creates what all great albums do, transcend being simply a collection of tracks and create a world you can immerse yourself in, or in this case a world you can stumble drunkenly into.
By Joe Lepper