The Peckham Cowboys - ‘10 Tales From The Gin Palace’ (Cargo Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Johnny H   
Monday, 20 January 2014 03:00

Gin Palace coverIn more recent years of all the bands that have been supposedly baptised in the bourbon soaked influence of The Glimmer Twins, it is Sarf Lahndan’s The Peckham Cowboys that perhaps stand out the most for yours truly. Largely because their fuzzed up debut record ‘Flog It!’ proved such a head fuck of a listen that whilst Stones producer Chris Kimsey saw fit to call it “genius” I have to admit it actually frightened the life out of me. So much so in fact that when the band supported Enuff Z’Nuff recently in one of our local live haunts I actually decided to “have a night in”. The band’s second album then ‘10 Tales From The Gin Palace’, was not really an album I was looking forward to sitting down and listening to.

 

Why then the Uber Rock Approved logo on this review?

 

Well let’s start with what has happened within the band since that debut record shall we. Gone is the lovable rouge Guy Bailey on six strings, his be-hatted guitar spot now filled by one Timo Kaltio. Also gone is the drum machine that made that debut album hard for me to listen to, the core duo of vocalist Marc Eden and guitarist Dale Hodgkinson now joined by Ryan McCormick on drums. Also the band now boasts the ever dapper Nigel Mogg on bass, and the real ace up their sleeve, keyboardist Duncan McKay, who also doubles up on horns. It is this latter asset to the band’s sound that immediately grabs me by the penny rounds as album opener ‘Not Guilty’ erupts from my speakers full of bohemian excess. “Allegedly” a tale regarding singer Eden’s reasons for laying low these past months, it sounds like it was recorded for the band’s ‘A Nod Is as Good as a Wink... to a Blind Bottle of Sauce’ record, or is that just a figment of my twisted rock ‘n’ roll imagination running away with me? Some might just say “oh that’s The Quireboys”, but I would counter that by saying “The Quireboys haven’t sounded this dirty since they had Ginger in the band, and that was over a quarter of a century ago.

 

‘Bromley Girls’ continues the sleazy escapades of the band as Marc rasps his way through one of the funniest vocal stutters you’ll hear anywhere this year. This is filthy fucking stuff for sure and a full on tongue in cheek strut that really gets under the skin.

 

The double whammy of ‘The Debt Collector’ and ‘Don’t Damn The Hypnotist’ is where ‘10 Tales From The Gin Palace’ turns into the band’s ‘Exile On Peckham High St’, as the former skanks its way through what would have been a perfect jaunty hit single for the band, if said format still made band’s into superstars, whilst the latter is a huge trumpet driven dub monster that is so sharp lyrically you better be careful not to slice a chunk off your brain getting the political subtext (something that along with cheeky whit is present throughout a large part of this record).

 

As the record reaches its midpoint, ‘Quarantined’ is the first track to look over its shoulder in the fuzzed out direction of the band’s debut record, but this time around in the company of these fine tunes and with the addition of the horns it turns into a slice of quality pop music, with just the merest hint of '90s Indie dance a la Jesus Jones thrown in for good measure. ‘Poor Boy Blues’ meanwhile continues the fuzzed out theme, with Eden and Co paying potty mouthed tribute to the deep South…. of London naturally.

 

In a parallel universe where ‘Debt Collector’ was the huge hit single that saw The Peckham Cowboys on Top Of The Pops for several consecutive weeks, the equally huge follow up track would have been ‘You’re Only In It For The Money’. A song so strong it could have held its own in The Dynamite Jet Saloon never mind The Gin Palace, largely because the chorus of this bugger is huge…no make that HUGE!!!!! Elsewhere the horn driven ‘She Was Sweet On Me’ and ‘Cut It Out’ once again doff their collective caps to ole bone crusher Jagger whilst also making me recall bands such as The Dirty Strangers and Broken English.

 

With ‘10 Tales From The Gin Palace’ containing ten all killer and no filler tracks, the garage rock of album closer ‘Knocked Senseless’ is not just the perfect way to wave goodbye to The Peckham Cowboys but also its title pretty much sums up how you will feel when you too hear this album, because you’ll be knocked bandy by this bastard.

 

This, the second album from The Peckham Cowboys really is a true melting pot of influences, and is everything great about music in 2014, combining as it does rock, blues, reggae and pop to make ‘10 Tales From The Gin Palace’ not only the best record the band could have produced, but also perhaps one of the best records by any UK band in the last few decades. I kid you not. You can stick your fucking Temperance Movement as the delights to be found within the Palace of Gin mean I’ll have a snifter or two with the real stars of the moment, and I for one certainly won’t be “having a night in” when they hit the road again in support of this masterpiece of an album.

 

approved image lrg 2013Ladies and gentlemen, The Peckham Cowboys.

 

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