HEY! - Lord Rochester (Twenty Stone Blatt)
This Anglo-Scottish trio led by Russell Wilkins (Thee Milkshakes, The Wildebeests) sound like Bo Diddley's trans-Atlantic cousins. Which is only fitting as the back-story goes that they were pulled together to replace an ill Mr Diddley at a show at London's Jazz Cafe. Shows at the Edinburgh Festival and various dives the length and breadth of Western Europe followed. Have tartan sportscoat, will travel.
Thirteen songs here and all delivered in a rather dignified garage style - or so you think until three tracks into the album when Lord Rochester himself pulls some blaring effects pedal out from under his kilt for and lays waste to the shuffling "Godzilla". Who needs Mothra with such Robert Quine-like tendencies?
For most of the way, His Lordship finds ways other than volume to keep your attention. It's this contrast between skiffle upper lip ballroom reserve and echo-and-reverb-soaked Joe Meekisms that makes "Hey!" such a fun ride. There's a lotta love for the formative beat rock period (pre-1963) and the ingredients that made it what it was. This shines through loud and, re, muffled - just as live-in-the-studio records of that era sounded.
Drummer Skin Villain Tim keeps time in time-honoured fashion and joins with bassist Lady Muck on wailing background vox. The sparse arrangements at the heart of most of the tracks come to the fore on songs like the reverb-draped "Five Senses" , while "Monkey Monkey" slips into a primal Velvets groove.
The Lord's vintage guitarwork on the single, "I Tried To Send a Monkey By UPS", will send Chet Atkins fans into delirious paroxysms. By the time the string-scraping switchblade swing of closer "Delirious Mama" rocks into earshot, it's London to a brick that fans of the seriously retro-and-righteous will be reaching for the CD player's repeat button.
No need to be only Childish when you can also be Lord of the Manor.- The Barman
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