The Skuzzies – Self-Titled (Easy Action)

Skuzzies LP

With a name that sounds like the gateway band between Busted and Stiff Little Fingers this London based three piece plough the furrows of lightweight punk-rock, opening track Hungry As A Hound has a retro surf-rock sound and Jerome Alexandre spitting out lyrics with a spluttered city twang. Likewise More Than This has groovy bass from Laura Clarke, but a sad lack of attitude even when they snarl; ‘Blind lead the fucking blind.’

There’s a touch of The Cure on Brompton Cocktail, Alexandre’s vocal lighter and creaky his guitar tip-toeing in and Andy Clark’s guest keyboard line ornate and sleazy. When the track lurches into its raucous chrouses it stumbles, stripping itself of its intriguing swagger and turning, lazily into a by the book punkalong. The Unknown Principle has a decent driving rhythm, whilst Alexandre’s delivery is a hoary bark, but the track coasts along drearily, Nik L’e West’s drums making the most impact, the gradual introduction of a more strident beat building nicely towards a decent spacey instrumental section.

Elsewhere Are You Sleeping? has a touch of The Kinks to its carefree pace, but lacks Ray Davies lyrical brilliance. West’s drums on Dissatisfied are hi-tempo, the track having a summery punky energy and a syncopated guitar on the verses, but the choruses feel like a lull in comparison to the relative imagination of what surrounds them.

After the disposable Shotgun Romance, there’s Rich Girls which has a fun guitar riff and an almost uncontrollable drum roll intro that threatens to collapse in tatters, though lyrically its an uninsightful list of things like; ‘Rich girls wear converses and furs.’

With a soundtrack of rainfall Heartache Accelerates has pensive guitars and distant howls like a particularly doleful Tarantino soundtrack, it’s a decent dour piece of balladry, though there’s an emotional detachment to the delivery that doesn’t convey bitter ambivalence and instead just renders it all a little flippant, but, still, it’s a simply told, neatly made tune. It’s followed by a ‘bonus track’ that features Peter Doherty on guest vocals, it has a two tone energy and an interestingly ramshackle sound duveted in murky production that makes the track sound like it has burrowed its way through grotty floorboards, but, it’s ultimately a skeletal and predictable tune, beholden to and bringing nothing new to what has gone before.

There’s something a little off about this record, tunes that should have a bite and punch to them feel trapped behind glass, it’s oddly in the slower moments that the band produce some of their finest stuff, but this 10 track holds few truly memorable moments and it skips in one ear and disappears into the night out of the other.


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