The Victorian English Gentlemens Club
First impressions can deceive. Listening to the debut album by The Victorian English Gentlemens Club you'd expect the band to hail from some poncy art college in the south east. But no, they're from Cardiff. How odd... And yet further listens reveal the pulsating veins of past-Cardiff masters like Mclusky and Super Furry Animals in their post-punk madness, with their fondness for bonkers lyrics, squealing vocals and angular guitars.
They seem to have found some lost middle-ground between the metal-thrash of the former and the space age pop of the latter. They've also not lost sight of playing tunes and writing proper songs over creating some art-wank bollocks that's unlistenable but beard-strokingly "art". "Dead Anyway" sounds like something The White Stripes might have recorded with a lost member, its thumping drone beat and high pitched male vocals duelling with the almost spoken female vocals that crash through the speakers during the bridge. There are also hints of the B52's here as well - squealing female vocals over the angular guitar riffs that can do nothing but set the feet tapping and spread a huge smile across your face. Album opener "The Tales of Hermit Mark" is a quality slice of Gang Of Four post-punk with it's dirty riffs and tales of drunken nights with the man in question and has plenty in common The Young Knives, I think they'd make quite good bed-fellows.
It doesn't always work though, but when they're throwing so many different riffs, lyrics and noises at the wall to see what sticks, some are bound to fail. "Amateur Man" sounds like a blatant Stranglers rip-off but with some wailing banshee on backing vocals and "Under The Yews" is a similar drone number that doesn't quite build to the crescendo that it should.
Despite this though, the record is worth owning for the opening 8 minutes or 3 songs alone. It brims full of fresh-sounding riffs, intriguing and amusing lyrics and more ideas than you'll hear on any other release... for this month at least.