The Bowling Green - Self-Titled (Landline Records)

The Bowling Green – Self-Titled (Landline Records)

For his third electronica album Self-Titled released 20 years after his second Fabrications; polymath Micko Westmoreland has taken a Janus-like sidestep away from his current rancour-driven combo Micko & The Mellotronics, and again makes headway into his pre-Mellotronics incarnation of The Bowling Green. A comparison could easily be made with the evolving early careers of Brian Eno or Japan i.e. the glam punkster morphing into studio boffin.

Since the release of Fabrications, it is more than obvious that streaming has affected the way that we all listen to albums. The release of Self-Titled couldn’t be more fortuitous. The current technology gives the listener the chance to create his or her personal soundscape with the added bonus of savouring the two videos that have already been released during the latter part of this year, Wonky and Disco Thong – directed respectively by Patrick Henry and Cameron Poole.

Micko used to be a composer of film soundtracks collaborating with his brother film director Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice/Colette). It would be superfluous to say that he ‘knows’ his audience. Emphasised a sense of dusty movie reel comfort via the Morricone-like stabs of Hey Baby – riddled with both the required story and glory entwined with late-career Bowie-style drum ‘n’ bass and funky axe work. One to literally lose yourself into. Obviously, a similar feel is evoked with Live Wild West. It contains a slidey lead bass effect not too dissimilar to that of the late Mick Karn

Deja Vu occupies a different cinematic universe entirely with a righteous sense of armageddon . It’s overall essence immediately brings to mind the overt industrialisation of Depeche Mode’s Construction Time Again. But like the arrival of a speedy Tokyo Bullet train, a sinister sound like a War Of The Worlds gurgling alien makes itself the centrepiece. Both comedic and chilling like Can’s Aumgn.

Familiarity certainly doesn’t breed contempt with the intentionally fruity retro-sounding Hawaiian lap-steel of Disco Throng which features tingling metallic-sounding drums and a booming bass bedrock. The track evokes a sense of background competing with the foreground in an elusive Captain Beefheart-like manner, and willingly evokes an era when TV theme tunes and the overall catchiness of the adverts actually meant something for kids growing up in a pre-Atari era. 

The sense of conglomeration hits home with Wonky – the first single from the album. It is a potpourri piece of electronica with smatterings of funky bass and the essence of Augustus Pablo amid swirling Moogs. It occupies an elusive eastern territory like Jane’s Addiction’s Of Course but evokes a lazy Sunday morning simultaneously. 

The album concludes in a suitably anachronistic way with the bird-like Mastermind containing a sample of Magnus Magnusson asking questions relating to The Sex Pistols. The techno-driven ‘sound’ bares no relevance to the band. All part of the head-scratching Bowling Green essence! 

Realistically speaking, if you are a die-hard Mellotronics fan and like them ‘as they are’, you may well be somewhat baffled over Self-Titled! Think long and hard before you put this album on your Christmas present list  But maybe anything with Micko’s name on it might have the required kudos? All subjective. But if you are an ‘anything goes’ sort of person or a devout fan of electronica in general, then you needn’t look far. The Green is forever echoing!


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.