(4 / 5)
If your face doesn’t break out in a great, big fat smile during first ear-hole of this album, I’d check your pulse to make sure you are still with us!
Quirky, fun and larger than life; Angus Crowne has delivered something different, something that harks back to the 70s and 80s rockabilly-meets-pysche rock and a large dollop of punk sensiblities too.
Apart from lead vocal and bass, Angus plays ukulele across this record: Think George Formby on Ketamine! His voice is part singer, part narrator. It has an infectious edge to it.The material is a mixed bag of styles, mainly jolly, up-tempo stuff and it all fits together nicely; all 11 cuts do their job.
The opener “Little Green Men” kicks things off on a rockabilly tip, Stray Cats meets Johnny Kid and the Pirates – the guitar licks from Gavin Ross channelling the late and great Mick Green in style. Gavin also plays bass on the record, with Tino Marrufo on drums.
The title cut is next, very much Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers territory, as is “Calm Seas”. “Get Me A Beer” is funny; he sings about being told off for being lazy and mid-bollocking barks out: “Get me a beer!” It has a zany B52’s feel to it.
The likes of Link Wray, Lou Reed, David Byrne and Devo spring to mind as the album progresses, and on the last track, “Beyond The See (Funk Splat Remix)” – a repeat of the eighth cut here with a different approach – brings Ian Dury’s unique style to mind, and maybe a Squeeze thing too. He goes all New York/CBGB’s punk on us with “The 99” and “Punk Rock Aftershock”, and rather than sound dated and about four decades too late, it’s an authentic tribute and could well have been recorded back in the punk heyday and sat in a dusty vault since then.
All songs penned by Angus, the album produced by him and Gavin Ross in Burbank, California. He calls his music “uke-billy punk music”, and this is the second album, after his self -titled debut last year. Apparently, Angus has earned a crust as a writer, musician and concert producer for Queen, Boy George, Spacehog and many more.
This is going to be a Marmite moment; an acquired taste and not for everyone. But this guy is doing his own thing and sounds like he’s enjoying himself, and I for one had a ball discovering him and this lovely record. As mad as a box of frogs it may sound to some, forget the Prozac and the other “happy pill” drugs, take a dose of this record twice a day for a week and I guarantee you’ll feel better. I did…
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’