Pop Rivets - MT Sounds From Anarchy Ranch
Before you read this review, you might like to read about The Pop Rivets first release, Greatest Hits.
Empty Sounds From Anarchy Ranch was to be The Pop Rivets second and final album. A mere two EP's later and they were gone. Their mooted idea of recording a final double LP of rock 'n' roll covers evaporated into the graveyard of 'good ideas had whilst when drunk' and they were no more; this is a shame, really, for this album contains the germ of a really great rock 'n' roll covers band. It's less ska orientated than the debut, and contains the roots of the Chatham swamp rock sound that would eventually flower in the form of other Billy Childish projects, such as The Milkshakes and Thee Headcoates and, of course, the current Buff Medways.
This is a much more polished effort than its predecessor. Perhaps polished is the wrong word, but it’s not as patchy and hangs together as a collection of songs much better. The ska element is exorcised in the very first song Hang Loose Mongoose which is about a straightforward rock 'n' roll number as you can imagine. A little taste of the aborted live double album can be found in The Pop Rivets Mak Show which is a loose, live medley of rock 'n' roll covers including You Really Got Me and Louis Louis amongst others. It's a fine, rough round the edges lump of pure energy.
Billy's voice has really come along on this album. Gone is the raucous squawk from the first album, maybe his voice broke or something, but this Billy is brimming with vitriol and spite. It still suffers from an over reliance on whimsy, such as on songs like Skip Off School, but on the whole, the band is really coming together here and developing into something resembling a powerful trio of right noisy bastards. Never more so on the extended cover of the Sex Pistols What you Gonna Do About It? which, at four minutes, is longer than anyone ever intended it to be.
As well as dipping into rock 'n' roll, they also manage to dip into country and western for what is the albums best track - Anarchy Ranch. A powerful bass driven punk/country mix-up that works far better than you'd think it would. The trouble with the album is that, apart from highlights, like this, is that much of it sounds the same. It's still quite patchy on the whole, but stands up much better than the debut. It's nice to see this pair re-issued, though, and they'll find a place on the shelves of anyone interested in the current garage punk scene.
More information from the Damaged Goods Website.