Archive for March 6th, 2006

McLusky – McLuskyism

Jon Chapple, Andy Falkous and Mat Harding (and latterly Jack Egglestone, who never really got the chance get comfortable in the drum stool IMO) – aka Welsh trio McLusky – were the most under-rated band in Britain bar none. Now they are no more, and my life is certainly a darker place without the prospect of new records or catching them live ever again. I’ve yet to check out Chapple’s new outfit Shooting At Unarmed Men and to the best of my knowledge Falkous has hasn’t surfaced with his post stuff. Although, I’m interested, it is with a fair amount of trepidation. What made McLusky so damn unique was the interplay between the pair of them up front, not sure how they’ll be apart.

For the sake of a nice lazy shorthand, McLusky peddled an unholy amalgam of The Pixies otherworldliness, Beefheart‘s bass, and the beats and anger of Public Enemy. Seriously. And, if you can’t see that, go look again. The best thing about that is that it all seems so natural. They hang together like real band, unique and magnificent. Unfortunately, they were just too deep for them that hung their hats on the poshoe junky’s increasingly shaky nail squad and had far much humour (and humanity) for the goatee-beardo art-rock contingent that would usually be buying anything with (regular producer) Steve Albini‘s name on it (of course only in the limited 10″ vinyl version).

And, in this day and age being just too interesting is the worst crime of all. As the dozen ‘a-side’ tracks featured here. (Actually it includes Without MSG I Am Nothing which was intended to be a single, but they never got round to releasing. Included because “it should be” – according to the rather amusing sleevenotes* – although I can’t help feel it’s because She Will Only Bring You Happiness was too melancholy an ending.)

Of course, my recommendation to anyone would (normally) be to actually go out and buy all three of their ‘proper’ albums. Currently they can be picked up for not much more than this new release will set you back. Normally. For this album can be gotten in a fabulous 56-track strong three cd set which includes ‘b-sides’ (self explanatory) and ‘c-sides’ (live, demos, unreleased etc).

A single from McLusky was always worth picking up to see what was on the b-side. None of your remixes, cack handed covers and sub-standard stuff here. In fact there’s a couple of tracks on here that you might question why they were on the flip. Then you look at the quality of the a-side and it makes sense. It’s like a collection of over-shadowed siblings. Would people be constantly telling me how much they really liked that whiteliberalonwhiteliberlaction song had Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues not been born around the same time?

As for the demos etc, let me wheel out a cliche, many a band would be proud to stick something like that out as a proper album. I keep finding myself attracted to The Difference Between You And Me Is I’m Not On Fire, a strangely straight jangly indie pop number. And, the rough as a badger’s proverbial version of Love song For A Mexican, now officially my favourite song. Actually, there’s not even the usual completely unlistenable but historically ‘important’ stuff that usually gets thrown into collections like this to make up the numbers. (Although, there might be a song ripped off from The Timewarp.)

I have moral objections to live albums, but there’s sop much here that the nine tracks tacked on the end seem more like a very pleasant extra. But, yes, I have found myself sighing wistfully with the memories…

No idea what any of it’s about, but that’s not the point.

* The spellchecker I use corrected that to ‘solvent’s’. The phrase seemed fitting.


Written by Tony Kiernan

06 March 2006 at 5:51 pm

Posted in Records