Top positive review
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Dirty rock 'n' roll
on 12 July 2009
The keyboards employed on 'Skinny Grin' make way here for Chris Sharkey's guitar. Vocals are given the push too, while Ruth Goller takes over on bass. The unfeasibly afro'ed Sebastian Rochford still occupies the drum stool, and Peter Wareham once more strafes with his saxophone. The end product is rock and roll of the best sort - dirty and belligerent but tuneful. Music college clearly had zero effect on these musicians' partiality to the Stooges.
It's been a very long time since since I last heard three consecutive tracks as uplifting as 'Living with a Tiger', 'Gratitude' and 'Have another Go'. Play these first thing in the morning, especially 'Gratitude' with its take-no-prisoners, blunt, opening riff, and you will feel as if you can take on the world. While all three are great tunes, the first and second have middle freak-out sections that kick against the traces of the main melody. Whether provided by Wareham's saxophone, as on the driving 'Living with a Tiger' or by Sharkey's guitar, as on 'Gratitude', these sections are the right length in relation to the overall tune, and very effective. Perhaps this is improvisation derived from jazz. Or is this what NYC early-80s no-wave sounded like? Don't know and don't care. On 'Have another Go' we get bags of melody and some great wah-wah (or is it flanging?)
If it's atmosphere and echo that you want, go to track 8. The two final tracks bring everything together in majestic fashion. I like the way Acoustic Ladyland structure their tunes. At the point where many bands either bring a tune to a halt or make it too long by repeating a section once too often, Acoustic Ladyland provide a shift.
'Only' four stars because tracks 6 and 7 are a bit too frenzied, but this is still the best rock and roll I've heard in years.