The Scaramanga Six - Cabin Fever
Like many bands these days the Scaramanga Six have given up waiting for the A&R men to come knocking on the door and done it themselves, setting up a record label and then recording and releasing their own album on it, as well as some other bands. However, the production, from Tim Smith of The Cardiacs no less, is of such a high quality you’d be forgiven for thinking one of the big evil global record companies is behind it, and this isn’t one of those quiet acoustic albums. The Scaramanga Six think big and sound it too.
A five piece (despite their name) the standard two guitars, bass and drums is augmented by the fifth member swapping wildly between organs and a few sections of a drum kit. Live this adds to the spectacle, particularly when he is forced to hold keys down with his nose while drumming with his hands; on record you’d be forgiven for thinking they’ve spent a while on some impressive over dubs.
Musically, if you’re a fan of bands like The Cardiacs and Ooberman, then this will be for you. If you’re not then think of music that lies somewhere between all the best in classic Bond themes: the orchestral marvels or Goldfinger to the stabbing guitars of Live and Let Die. Many of the songs start and stop abruptly, branching off into a different and wholly welcome break before crashing back to the main refrain. Opener Soul Destroyer begins sparsely with booming toms and cymbal washes and by the end it’s a piece of full-on driving guitar rock. Personal favourites are Pincers and The Electricity Bill, but this is one of those albums where your favourites are destined to change over repeated listens.
Lyrically there isn’t a serious Bloc Party-esque muso ethic here. They never really stray into comedy (except perhaps in closer ‘Horrible Face’) but there are threads of black humour and irony about the way subjects are approached; there’s no ‘emo’ here. All in all, this is good stuff.