The Sly Persuaders
It feels like I’ve been waiting for this album to drop for years. Not waiting specifically for the debut album by South London’s The Sly Persuaders, but waiting for something to come and fill the gasping void of rock albums that manage to be both interesting and actually good.
I love rock and roll, I fucking love it. You probably love it too. But you don’t have to be an undiscriminating, slack-jawed meathead to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I like a bit of stupid ass rawk every now and again (I own both Bat Out Of Hell and Appetite For Destruction), but what keeps the genre really exciting are its most literate, ironic and finessed proponents.
The Sly Persuaders are the kind of band that understood that it wasn’t the feedback, but the surf pop that made Psychocandy a great album. To them its artistically obvious that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Einstürzende Neubauten shared a key songwriter for decades. They know instinctively how Steve Albini ate up The Ramones and spat out Big Black. They’ve got all the chutzpah of live fast, die young rockers, but with enough cynicism and wit to keep them out of the 50p section of your local record shop.
Although this album shares many sonic hallmarks with the kind of psyched out garage rock that has been in the ascendant for what feels like forever, there with some key differences.
Firstly, it sounds good. And not in a “woah man, that’s a trippy wall of noise” way – but in a clear, dynamic, each sonic element is properly framed and not competing ruthlessly for space in a claustrophobic audio mush way.
Secondly it doesn’t use tired guitar pedal board wankery to disguise a lack of proper song writing. It’s collection of short, sharp rock songs with an extended freakout ending – like a Stooges, Doors or Suicide album. Where the band do press musical cliché into service (which, admittedly, they do a lot), it’s done with self awareness and style. The overdriven rock organ-as-rhythm guitar is unabashed and the occasional glimpse of Ennio Morricone worship in the lead guitar is both charming and enjoyable. The gothic tinged Elvis impersonation on the vocals is even acknowledged in the cover art.
I really have nothing bad to say about this record. It’s concise, heavily stylised and exciting. There isn’t a forgettable moment within and it’s distinctive and confident when viewed as a complete package.
Crap psych bands – Watch & Learn.