The Scaramanga Six - Horrible Face
“Where did you get / That horrible face?” opens this single from The Scaramanga Six, the darkly comic vocals sung seriously over a musical backing that brings to mind Led Zepplin’s ‘Kashmir’ and numerous Bond scores. They’ve gone to town on the production, the single not only sounding like a load of cash has been thrown at it, but the band backed by some nicely scored strings. ‘Lavish’ is probably the word to use here, though fundamentally I’m not sure the song is quite my cup of tea. Also, it’s an unfortunate fact that this sort of ‘comedic’ music tends to fail here in the UK, the divine comedy (rather unfortunately) being the exception. This is the sort of thing you’ll like if you like David Devant and his Spirit Wife toned down somewhat.
There are five members: the normal two guitars, bass and drums set up, plus a keyboardist who also plays extra drums where required, and on the two radio session b-sides you get a strong sense of how good The Scaramanga Six are at what they do. ‘Elemental’ is a faster, more edgy track than the ‘Horrible Face’ A-side, an organ-filled driving number that is my personal pick of this single that builds up into a crashing finale. Final track ‘The Throning Room’ is a sharp manic number that leads naturally from ‘Elemental’ with a long instrumental introduction that speeds up into the thrashy main song. There’s still lots of organ to fore here, giving a 60s tinge to the proceedings.
At the production helm is Tim Smith of The Cardiacs. The single’s released on the 13th June 2005, with an alternative session track on the 7”, but the album’s already available from their website if you can’t wait: thescaramangasix.co.uk or at the label site Wrath Records, and it includes personal fave 'Pincers'.