Remember when the post-Pistols band put together by Paul Cook and Steve Jones returned with the glorious ‘What In The World’, their first new music for 35 years? That was 4 years ago now, and while they have lost former 3 Colours Red guitarist Chris McCormack and bassist Paul Meyers from the line-up along the way, drummer Cook and Jonesy replacement Tom Spencer have kept themselves busy during these crazy times by enlisting everyone’s favourite go-to back up bassist Toshi JC Ogawa to the fold. They have released a trio of lockdown EP’s and recorded a spanking new album entitled ‘SNAFU’ with contributions from the likes of Billy Duffy and Phil Collen.
‘What In The World’ could be classed as a debut album really. With Jonesy only there in spirit (give or take a few guitar licks) and former Loyalties/Yo-Yo’s frontman Tom Spencer at the helm, it was a modern twist on The Professionals of old, yet it still contained a good deal of rock n’ roll swagger, and more importantly some good fucking songs. A handful of tours and festival dates helped established the band as frontrunners and The Professionals took the sound of ‘77 crashing into the 21st century.
So, now it comes to the tricky second album syndrome, and it’s time to see if the boys have the minerals. ‘SNAFU’ is an old army term that stands for ‘situation normal, all fucked up’. This is a term that not only fits with these tumultuous times we live in, but also sums up the dark humour and the tongue-in-cheek lyrical content of this album. Take recent single ‘Spike Me Baby’ for example. A song written about Cookie’s high times after accidently eating some of his daughter’s pot-laced chocolate. With urgent drums, a high energy feel and a radio friendly melody, it’s a surefire winner. Tom’s raspy voice is perfectly matched by some killer gang vocals in a chorus that sticks to the brain like punk rock toffee. And then there’s ‘M’Ashes’ a tale of the time Cookie transported the ashes Of Jonesy’s mother from London to L.A. All delivered in the best possible taste to a pop punk, post-Pistols rock n’ roll soundtrack.
With a top-notch production from go-to guy Dave Draper, these songs straddle a modern, punk rock approach, the style that the likes of the Michael Monroe band and Towers Of London took to heart. But most of all, and probably due to Spencer’s raspy vocals, it’s his former band The Loyalties that come to mind more than anybody else. The cheeky London charm, the low slung riffage and the power house drums of the man who was the backbeat for the Sex Pistols, this is a strong mix ladies and gents, and the songs are up to scratch.
The singles are obvious highlights, but the glorious ‘Never Say Never’ and ‘So Go No’ are full of the sort of punky attitude that will make you keep coming back for more. Elsewhere, ‘The Elegant Art (Of Falling Apart)’ could be a Michael Monroe album cut, the simple chord progression, the killer verse that builds to a memorable and overly cool gang vocal chorus, what’s not to like here? Then there’s ‘Only Human’, a song that has to be a future live favourite. Upbeat and euphoric, with a killer hook you will be repeating long after the song has faded. This is without doubt my favourite tune on the goddamn record.
I don’t think anyone expected The Professionals would be ‘a thing’ after they reunited for a celebratory show 6 years ago. Turns out Paul Cook and Tom Spencer are a great writing partnership, but surely even they couldn’t have imagined they would have two quality albums under their belts 6 years later. ‘SNAFU’ is a quality release that seals the deal for this modern incarnation of The Professionals. Not riding on the past or claiming to reinvent the wheel, Cook and Spencer have crafted 11 honest rock n’ roll songs that sit well in the discography and seal the legacy of the band.
Author: Ben Hughes