The Skuzzies – The Skuzzies (album, Easy Action)

The long-awaited debut album from Astoria/Babyshambles Riot veterans the Skuzzies is a largely fat-free feast, which could, perhaps fittingly, have been named after its urgent opener, ‘Hungry As A Hound’. Aside from a spot of arts lab fun with some atmospherics at the end of the Doors-cadenced ‘Heartache Accelerate’, the South London trio are generally, in and out, pulling off the blag with a minimum of poncing about.

Indeed, although the involvement of riot catalyst Pete Doherty will undoubtedly draw curious thrill-seekers towards The Skuzzies, the album stands squarely on its own merit, so one would hope that some of Pete’s People will have the kidneys to stick around. The disc inhabits the compellingly, er, skuzzy region where the grimy end of glam rubs up against the less ideological bit of punk. And it does so rather well – often the no-frills rock’n’roll animus teeters mesmerically on the precipice of its own gravity well, but these are no one chord wonders, they also offer much substance and depth.

Whereas ‘More Than This’ represents the direct Skuzzie template, standout track ‘The Unknown Principle’ is one of several that abstract this into recombinant forms of retro-futurism; sallow junkies pawn sputniks for cash to buy alien drugs brought back from beyond the Wub, the future, the present and the past collide amid chorus infused psych, juxtaposed against a pounding chorus and finished off with Jerome Alexandre’s cynically broken vocals.

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Tracks such as ‘Brompton Cocktail’ (do not operate heavy machinery) evokes the neon-lit underside of Junk City before detonating in Heartbreaker fashion, while ‘Are You Sleeping’ rolls wistfully in like a ‘Lazy Sunday Afternoon’ for the tastefully toasted. This is a pretty medicined album, but this hardly means that the group have blunted their edge upon a Chinese rock – ‘Shotgun Romance’ climbs, swoops and soars toward its exultant climax, ‘Dissatisfied’ matches kitchen sink glottal skank against jackhammer rhythms, and although ‘Rich Kids’ begins with some guitar plinkery that wouldn’t be out of place on a Chili Peppers album, amends are immediately made by a savage, hook-heavy demonstration of proper nasty rock’n’roll that scarcely gives one time to wonder why it turned into ‘Ghost Town’ for a couple of bars.

Nah, the Skuzzies don’t need Doherty, but you may need them.

Originally posted 2011-03-28 09:40:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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