|The Bad Joke That Ended Well|
The Bad Joke That Ended Well – The Bad Joke That Ended Well (Stolen Body Records)
After a long trip-hop hangover, Bristol seems to be finally re-emerging as a real musical force to be reckoned with in the UK. My recent joy at discovering the debut offering from Velcro Hooks has now grown at hearing the delightfully badly named The Bad Joke That Ended Well. The Bristolian Sextet (now that’s a band name) trade in dirty, gritty, nasty garage blues covered in swirling organs and throat shredding vocals that send uncomfortable shivers down the spine – the kind you get when a creepy colleague invades your personal space at the office Christmas party and you realise everyone else has gone on to the pub and it’s just the two of you left..........Anyway, the music. Sounding somewhere between the Animals, Grinderman and Lou Reed, the album opens with the wall of sound that is ‘Journeyman’ before the rhythmic and organ heavy ‘I’m Not There’ kicks and really get things moving. There is a deranged quality to this music that I can imagine creates something of a frenzy in the live arena but on record is the aural equivalent of watching a madman thrash about in a cage, all wild eyes and foaming mouth.
‘Hold My Hand’ is almost a Country-Blues lament with ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ style keys slathered all over it whilst ‘Mountains’ is a perfectly titled tune that creates images of a lone-ranger ambling through the Rockies on the back of a weary steed. ‘Dance of The Dead’ reminds me of Listen With Monger favourites The Clench with its Wild West tinges but it’s on ‘Sundown And Out’ that TBJTEW really explore their sinister side as the hypnotic and slither keys work gives the song a seductive swagger that is the soundtrack to the Devil trying to buy your soul. To finish up with, ‘Strangler’ belts out like a tune the Rolling Stones wish they could still produce if only Jagger had taken a more Shane MacGowan approach to his vocal performances. A foray in to North American pastures is surely on the horizon in 2013 and, with any luck, some success. My only word of caution is that I can’t hear any obvious stand out tracks on here that would suggest commercial success. Then again, it took The Black Keys a couple of albums to properly crack it and now look at ‘em!?
15th December - On The Rocks, Bournemouth (Vinyl launch)