On the impress-me-o-meter (patent pending), ‘one of Pete Doherty’s favourite bands’ ranks somewhere alongside ‘as seen on Britain’s Got Talent’ or ‘now available at McDonalds’, it is more likely to put me off then get me parting with my hard earned cash. But maybe that is just me; Doherty is still regarded by some as the people’s poet after all.
Thankfully though, once initial prejudices have been swept aside, The Skuzzies are actually good, well, really good. It is almost a ‘does what it says on the tin’ affair, for The Skuzzies essentially are a ‘skuzzier’ version of The Libertines mixed with some Stiff Little Fingers style attitude. In fact in the time it has taken me to start writing this review I have actually just added the CD to my collection and listened to it every couple of days, almost forgetting it was supposed to be assessed rather than assimilated.
The overall sense of the album is that of The Clash, not so much in a direct comparison but because like The Clash, The Skuzzies chew up a little punk/pop/reggae/rock and spit it out the other side, with consummate ease it should be said.
Setting the pace is the White Stripes on 78rpm opening whirl of ‘Hungry As A Hound’ followed sharply by the straight up punk of ‘More Than This’. Pulsing bass and chiming guitars introduce ‘The Unknown Principle’ before the stabbing chords and the sneering ‘If blood is bondage, then what is love?’ chorus punctuate the calm.
The ska punk beat of ‘Dissatisfied’ is positively drawled over by vocalist/guitarist Jerome Alexandre before he seemingly strangles a solo out of his guitar. If by this time you haven’t at least nodded along approvingly then I can only assume you are dead. You may want to see someone about that if so.
‘Rich Girls’ is insanely catchy, vaguely reminiscent of Electric Six’s ‘Gay Bar’ but only if the Sex Pistols’ had written it. ‘Rich Girls, they’re so devious’ and ‘You want to talk to me, don’t want to talk to you’ certainly give the impression we are unlikely to see any of the band courting (that’s what the kids call it, right?) ‘The little dogs in handbags’ brigade anytime soon.
Even with the meandering of the final track ‘Heartache Accelerates’ and its bladder taunting sound effects giving way to ‘On the Corner’ (with added Pete Doherty), this album still comes in at under 40 minutes. But you won’t care about that as you’ll be too busy pressing play and listening again.
Find out more about The Skuzzies HERE.