Fuel Injection Records (label)
26 May 2014 (released)
31 May 2014
This is an album about reality and fantasy, sanity and insanity, vice and versa. With a concept inspired by the Mick Jagger cult movie PERFORMANCE, the title of The Bermondsey Joyriders new album doubtlessly turns out to be a harbinger of things to come.
‘Flamboyant Thugs’ is the third album by the eccentric South London blues-punkers, comprised of three gentlemen whose musical pedigree not only guarantees quality, but boldness, attitude, humour and thought-provoking word-smithery in spades! Frontman Gary Lammin (formerly of Little Roosters), bassist Martin Stacey (Chelsea) and drummer Chris Musto (Johnny Thunders’ Oddballs) follow up their 2012 release ‘Noise & Revolution’ with new songs that will surprise all those certain to hear primarily left-field, strumming chords and a fast and stone heavy beat. Au contraire, the new album offers – just like the movie PERFORMANCE – a yin and yang concept that combines more melodious glam-rock riffs and harmonious tunes yet with the same all-consuming intensity which fans have come to expect from the trio. Yes, the bite is still sharp and the overall sound as raw and from the gut as ever, but this time round the band has decided to infuse all with a little more soul.
Welcome then to the inner sanctum of ‘Flamboyant Thugs’!
Opener ‘Sonic Underground’ with its fierce drumming intro is a fleshed out scorcher that grabs you by the balls and gets the ole adrenalin pumping overdrive.
‘Black God Daddy’ with its nod to MC5 truly kicks out the jams, with Lammin snarling along to chugging blues-punk riffs.
“I thought I write a special song, for all you people who feel they don’t belong” announces Lammin on ‘Here Come The People’ – a track with the genius line “Labour did what the Tories do”. The song loosely echoes the spirit of Pulp’s ‘Common People’, combined with the verbal viciousness of bands like Sex Pistols and a driving, catchy beat to match.
Detroit counterculture icon John Sinclair once again lends his spoken word genius to the album, and introduces title song ‘Flamboyant Thugs’ in his unique style. Yes, this is not only a song about fantasy and reality but also one about drape frock coats and square guitars on the Old Kent Road. It’s a turbo-driven stomper alright, and ends with Sinclair’s spoken word outro.
A tireless pace runs through ‘Just Like Me’ – a warped tale about warped aspirations and the notion that in this our society you got to be someone with status in order to be taken serious, and if it means the drudgery of going to work on a Monday morning. Monotonous aggressive riffs and drumbeats emphasize this state of mind. Gary Lammin’s sardonic wit nails it when he sings about the trappings of consumer society and selfish attitudes to match on ‘It’s Nice To Be Important’… reversing to “but so important to be nice!”
‘Just Like A Kid’ is a tightly woven together arrangement and addresses the eternal question what it takes to be a man and live like a man. ‘Roll The Dice’ bursts with 70’s glam-rock flavour… Slade-style hooks and Mott The Hoople-style backing vocals work their magic here. “Please practice what you preach” advices Lammin on ‘Gentlemen Please’, possibly one of the most musically diverse tracks on the album. In-your-face punk chords, a honky-tonk piano, and tongue-in-cheek lyrics turn this into a ballroom blitz affair.
If the aforementioned track can boast with musical diversity, then closing track ‘The Message’ surely takes top prize for unleashing multiple styles packaged in an epic message that questions corporate breed, reality TV, and similar perils that turn the masses into brainwashed shallow robots. Psychedelic opening chords gradually build layer upon layer and explode into an aggressive refrain, interspersed with the bluesy twang of a snarling slide guitar and constant breaks in pace. The outro spells prophetic gloom albeit in the best grand finale manner. Here, vocals, guitar, bass and drums all are ready to go into battle with demon corporate greed.
This is a rollicking album by a band destined for bigger things – watch this space!
(Please read my interview with incredibly likeable flamboyant thug Gary Lammin in the ‘Interviews’ section.)