|The Night Marchers - ‘Allez! Allez!’ (Swami)|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Thursday, 31 January 2013 03:00|
When John “Speedo” Reis unveiled his post Rocket From The Crypt project The Night Marchers on the world back in 2008, the four piece were almost the perfect anti gang, looking like the geeks that would hang out in the shadows of the oh so cool Crypt dudes. And musically where the Crypt might use a razor sharp stiletto knife hook and a barrage of horn drenched rifferama to deliver their message the Nmers (as they now like to called) would probably use a sarcastic put down refrain and a twelve bar lick or two to gently coerce you over to their musical side of the fence.
Don’t get me wrong I immediately fell in love with the band’s soul garage masterpiece ‘See You In Magic’, and getting to see them live in such intimate surroundings as Bristol’s grossly underused (well for proper gigs anyway) Cooler venue was certainly one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences. It was just that however much I loved the band and their debut album, you just got the feeling that in the wake of the RFTC split here in the UK Jsinclair, Skitsos, Dner and Speedo just weren’t going to make any major dents in the popularity stakes anytime soon, largely because in this media savvy age they had no image other than Dner’s hugely fashionable hairstyle on which to hang their cooler than thou soul drenched tunes.
Fast forward 5 years then and after many many months of “have they or haven’t they?”(split up that is) we finally get the band’s sophomore release, and the first thing I’m pleased to see is that they have come through the barren stretch with their line up still fully intact. This time around though with perhaps one eye on the imminent RFTC reunion shows you get the sense that Reiss is hankering for something much more in the way of some good ole rock ‘n’ roll rather than the last album’s rock ‘n’ soul, and this is very quickly borne out in the album’s lead track Tropical Depression’ a sinewy little runt of an opener which rather prophetically boasts a riff rather similar to a track by a certain L.A. punk band all about men who like carrying switchblades. (You go figure!)
This track actually sets the tone perfectly for what is to follow, as whilst the soul tinges of the band’s debut are still very much prevalent ‘Allez Allez’ is much more a toughened up affair, it’s like the nerds have been working out and actually found their own voice. So whilst you still get the Sixties backing vocals on the likes of ‘Roll On’, or the almost new wave riffage of ‘Pain’ these pop touches also come with a bloody nose reminder that the guys wanna rock too courtesy of the full on “Woo Hoo”- tastic ‘All Hits’ and the Glitter Band meets Saints stomp of ‘Big In Germany’.
It is in fact the horns on the latter track that not only reminds you just how great a band Rocket From The Crypt were but also just how fucking great The Night Marchers are too, because here they don’t so much match Reis’s old gang mates as actually manage to give them an imaginary shoeing on tracks like ‘Fisting The Fan Base:’ (surely the song title of the year already in this twisted paean to fan exploitation) and the track that perhaps sums the record up best - ‘Loud, Dumb & Mean’.
Look I know some of you will be creaming your jeans in anticipation of the Rocket From The Crypt reunion shows happening this April, but seriously in the meantime you can do a lot worse than pick up a copy of this album, in fact I’d go so far as to say it’s the best album Reis has been involved in since the criminally underrated ‘RFTC’ album. Now ‘Allez! Allez!’ go buy buy, and then perhaps the nerds really will inherit the world.