In an increasingly odd year, this should come as no surprise, but I was still taken aback. After the pleasant shock of The Damned announcing dates by the original line up, I am now listening to the new album by the original line up of The Vibrators. There are those who will say “never look back”, and, usually, that’s sound advice. But, ably assisted by Chris Spedding, the band have produced a great album.
I admit that I haven’t followed their progress since Knox originally left, and gave them his blessing to continue. I have no feelings either way, and was a fan of his albums as Fallen Angels as much as anything. So, I’m not approaching this as a purist. But, his voice has certainly been missed.
The title track could indeed sit nicely on a Fallen Angels LP, with the familiar drawl in place over three chords and what I assume is Spedding’s lead work, which would compliment that of ex-Angel Andy McCoy. Like a six-string version of Suicide. ‘Jesus Stole My Little Dog’, apparently. Lyrically weird, but it works, another up tempo number.
‘Garbage Can’ is a close cousin of ‘Amphetamine Blue’, then lead vocals change on ‘Turn The Pages’. The countrified riff could be Neil Young, not a bad thing at all. John Ellis wrote ‘Big Black Sea’, which is in a similar vein. He also wrote ‘Platinum Dress’, with some nice slide work, and ‘Passing Of Days’ which is more brooding, in the style of ‘Working Class Hero’.
Good songs, but for me it’s Knox’s voice that holds it together as a band. Whether on the heady four chords of ‘Woman 3.2’ or the tender ‘Love Me Forever’, it sounds like The Vibrators. Even the cow bell on ‘Follow Your Destiny’ works. ‘Made In Heaven’ is slushy but lovely, with a great solo.
‘Paper Tiger’ and the riffmungous ‘This Is The Way’ are a fine way to bring it to an end. Who’d have thought it? Now, once this pandemic nonsense is under control, will they spoil us with some gigs?
Buy ‘Mars Casino’ Here
Author: Martin Chamarette