MickoWestmoreland TM 126

Micko Westmoreland – Yours ETC, Abc(Landline Records)

 
MickoWestmoreland_TM_126
 

First coming to prominence as one of the many stars of criminally underrated glam rock flick ‘Velvet Goldmine’, Micko Westmoreland started his musical life making quirky electronica. More recently, however, he’s reverted to using his real name and for this, his fourth album, he’s moved even further towards traditional songwriting structures.

 

The link on Soundcloud for the album somewhat mischievously declares its genre to be ’60s electronica’, and as you’d expect from someone whose label is called Landline Records and whose debut album was titled ‘One Pound Note’, there’s a strong whiff of retro nostalgia about much of it. Guest appearances from Terry Edwards, Mark Bedford (Madness) and Mickey Gallager (Animals/Blockheads/Clash) only reinforce that vibe, as does Micko’s ringing Rickenbacker guitar work, somewhere between The Beatles and the Stone Roses. But there’s always a twist in whatever form of music Micko chooses to express himself through, and ‘Yours Etc, ABC’ is no exception. This might be music that references the strong, recognisable flavours of the past but never settles on a particular era to plunder from.  Take the album’s title track. Its guitar riff chugs along like ‘Ticket To Ride’ or ‘Paperback Writer’, but there are lovely diversions into easy listening territory and the ever uplifting sound of Terry Edwards trumpet to guide it towards to its close. ‘Casting Catch’ starts out ska but then it morphs into a primitive disco affair, something the Human League might have made if they’d formed in 1976.

‘What Do You Bring To The Party’ has echoes of The Smiths’ ‘Stop Me…’, but Micko’s vocals are closer to Bowie than Morrissey, evoking memories of troubled childhoods and the tremulous insecurities of youth. The highlights are plentiful, but the cover version of ‘Godstar’, Psychic TV‘s song about the death of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, is clearly one as Micko delivers a spat out, indignant vocal and queasy electronics whiz and spin over the classic rock and roll chords. But Westmoreland’s own composition ‘The Facts Of Life’ is another, with a bouncy riff nodding to The Who‘s ‘Can’t Explain’ and a youthful Johnny Marr

So, 60s electronica? Well, not really. But if anyone invents a ‘future retro’ tag for Soundcloud, then this entertainingly idiosyncratic album should be top of the playlist. 

[Rating:3]

‘Yours ETC, Abc’ is out now on Landline Records
http://landlinerecords.com/

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