The Peckham Cowboys most excellent new album offers a sonic re-imagining of the band’s highs and lows since their shambolic, guitar-trashing debut Flog It was released a couple of years ago.

The band, ah yes. Not only has there been (yet another) change in personnel, but if the debut album was a full-on assault on mind and eardrums, then 10 Tales From The Gin Palace surprises by offering an altogether more polished and richer sound. That said, listeners can still expect some fretted fury, laden with intoxicating sax and keys.

Original band members Marc Eden and Dale Hodgkinson remain at the forefront, and talent is are further supported by Timo Kaltio (Hanoi Rocks, Izzy Stradlin Band) on guitar, Nigel Mogg (The Quireboys) on bass, Duncan McKay (Primal Scream) on horns and keys, and Ryan McCormick (Steven Adler Band) on drums.

“Not Guilty!” recalls Marc’s ordeal of a courtroom appearance not long ago, however, as far as the lyrics go then precious little is revealed. Still, the whole escapade must have been traumatising enough to make this the opening track. While the inner turmoil of the experience is emphasized by Duncan’s frantic sax spiel, the band’s signature blooze-rock sound prevails throughout – culminating in our frontman declaring: “I’m not guilty… this time!”

“Bromley Girls” is a saucy tale of seducing an art school student using all sorts of tricks, including an AC/DC (makes it easy) record. It’s both hilarious and in your face (here’s a double entendre...), sleazily performed by Marc’s raspy voice.

The reggae-flavoured “The Debt Collector” surprises thanks to its melodious and harmonious arrangement, while the surprise factor expands on “Don’t Damn The Hypnotist” – courtesy of guest star Rebel MC Congo Natty’s heavy dub influence. It’s not a sound you’d immediately associate with The Peckham Cowboys, and lyrically it’s a lot more political then their usual material but it works amazingly well!

It’s back to the typically gutter-drenched sleaze on ‘Quarantined’, dominated by grungy riffs and a fierce beat.

“Poor Boy Blues” – my favourite track on the album, recalls echoes of that other P Cowboys fave of mine, “Crack House Blues”. On “Poor Boy Blues” we get the entire swampy palate comprised of sly, simmering, and harmonica-laden rhythms with an added dash of voodoo humbug, though the territories in question cover Margate to South London and not the Deep South. Simply brilliant!

Next track “You’re In It For The Money” blasts in all organic, ironic and fuzzed up, while the toilet-flush gimmick at the end proves here’s a band that – while taking their music serious – doesn’t take themselves too seriously. That’s the right attitude to have in my humble opinion.

The witty and riotous “She Was Sweet On Me” with its killer refrain and the revelation “Oh she even knew my name” turns out to be another highlight.
However, it’s closing track ‘Knocked Senseless” – a corker bursting with classic gutbucket harmonies and dynamic hooks that make you yell for more.

10 Tales From The Gin Palace… and yours truly can’t wait for the next few chapters!