Hard rock veterans resort to the pub to pay homage to their roots by revisiting imaginary days of yore with original material.
“I don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t really care!” – here’s a sneer whose sincerity seems to have come from a different era – the period when THE CLASH and MADNESS trod the Earth, but “Look Whatcha Gone And Done” whence this line is taken must pack the urban-minded punch here and now. Bristling with youthful vigor and given a touch of righteous aggression, it’s a joint venture by Nigel Mogg and Mick Cripp who used to grace the classic line-ups of, respectively, THE QUIREBOYS and L.A. GUNS, and now harness funk ‘n’ punk to have fun as if there was no tomorrow. Prone to occasional philosophizing, the freshly minted quintet may define their manifesto in “Form & Function” which will envelop the listener in a deceptively translucent gloss, yet it’s the unhurried noise and ethereal tension of “Jungle Nasty” that will provide a fitting outline to the ensemble’s modus operandi.
The band thrive on contrast, as the atmospheric new-wave reassurance in “Know Your Value” is balanced with the Sixties-inspired innocence permeating “Wishing I Was Far Away” and concealing a heavy slab of sarcasm, while, spiked with a ska infectiousness, the sleazy, bluesy riff of “I Don’t Believe A Word” feels even more irresistible in its sweet simplicity and sees Cripps’ six strings dance around Kent Holmes’ licks. Thanks to the overall raga(muffin) vibe, “Meet Me Half Way” wouldn’t feel weird on a two-tone platter, especially when a rock ‘n’ rolling solo is thrown in, whereas the boisterous rhythm-and-blues behind “Nutter” – high on the ivories’ jive – and the heavier “You Got It” cover the hilariously brutal end of the whole endeavor. “Drinking Alone” where “I don’t care” crops up again can be harsher than that but, driven by togetherness, the song has a defiant smile attached to it. In a company like this, concrete jungle doesn’t look unwelcoming.