This is not a Mclusky record. But it almost is, and if that’s not good enough for you then would you mind if I took your temperature? How many fingers am I holding up? Can you feel me jabbing this biro into your ear? While nutter bassist John Chapple was the first to make a racket after Mclusky split with the hit-and-miss-but-still-a-reasonable-laugh (we-suppose) Shooting At Unarmed Men, Andy Falkous – who many probably consider Mclusky’s engine room, with his demented snarl, gold plated lyrical contempt and razorblade-in-a-dodgy-plug-socket guitar licks – took a while longer to let the pieces lock into place. He enlisted latter-day Mclusky drummer Jack Eggleston and Jarcrew bassist Kelson Mathias to begin life with at least equal pedigree to his former band, and put out single after rock-hard single, earning the impression of a band with an unshakable foundation.
And that impression remains, like a singed-granite crater in the Welsh valleys, on this very appropriately titled indeed debut album. The trademarks are all present and unfalteringly correct. The riffs are sharp and filthy, the pace is generally steady but powered by vein-popping rhythms and the vocals veer between sarcastic and tonsil-wrenchingly painful, though always leaning towards the former, spitting out precisely arranged observations, questions and curses. “Violence solved everything” utters he typically, dryly, slowly, amid yelps, sludgy Albini-grunge bass and piercing stop/start guitar on ‘The Lord Hates A Coward’. And thus the tone is set.
Without Steve Albini at the desk, on whose production Mclusky thrived, the sound is inevitably scrappier and less like a bloody head butt, but the songs are firm and dart frantically enough to utterly hold their own. This all makes for a band that sound young, hungry and fired-up. ‘My Gymnastic Past’ spars around a fantastic elastic early Nirvana bass-line, ‘Real Men Hunt In Packs’ grinds like Ten Benson and the immense, Pixies/Fugazi aping ‘Wrigley Scott’ meets expectation head on. But then the stomping ‘Manchasm’ and Les Savy Fav-esque ‘Suddenly It’s A Folk Song’ utilise synth ingredients and do what Mclusky stuttered at on their last record, and that was moving forward from their established template successfully. Of course it’s not as good as ‘Mclusky Do Dallas’. But then, what is?share this: