Those Northern herberts The City Kids are back with a new album under their collective studded bullet belts, and you best believe they mean business this time around. With Covid putting the brakes on any promotion and touring of their debut long player ‘Things That Never Were’, the four-piece punk n’ rollers (led by former Main Grains guitar slinger JJ Watt), avoided becoming ‘the band that never were’ by battening down the hatches during lockdown and planning their sophomore album remotely.
Whereas the debut City Kids album was a collection of songs that frontman JJ had already written and arranged himself, the resulting follow up album ‘Filth’ is a collaborative effort and a step up both sonically, creatively and artistically.
Berty Burton’s bass rumble on the opening title track, paired with Dave Sanders urgent beats ensure the listener is paying attention from the off. JJ’s unmistakable growl has the grit of a 40 a day habit and the stench of last night’s rum & coke session still on his breath, while the metallic licks of former Warrior Soul man Dennis Post seal the deal. ‘Filth’ is…. well, it’s downright filthy from the word go!
Next, the upbeat ‘Alone’ rides along on a glorious melody and some killer guitar work, its over before you’ve had time to sink another drink. Things are certainly cooking in the world of The City Kids two tracks deep.
The overall sound is raw and ramshackle, but with the guidance of a certain Dave Draper overseeing JJ and Andy Brook in the production and mixing department, it is also a bit of a monster. The delivery is cool and collected and the songs are as memorable as the heroes the band aim to channel. Their punk n’ roll sound is a mash of Social Distortion and The Yo-Yo’s with hints of JJ’s previous band to the fore. As with the debut, melody is prevalent and the hooks are there for all to savour.
The gritty, high energy single ‘It Should Have Been You’ is as much fun as you can have with your clothes on and the punchy, Wildhearts-esque ‘You Wanna?’ is an early stand out that sinks its teeth into the subconscious and stays there for good. There’s something overly familiar in the pop-tastic melodies of ‘Scars’ that sits well, and the pub rock goodness of ‘Self-Righteous’ will have you coming back for more time and time again.
Is it me, or have JJ’s vocals got rawer over the past few years? Maybe the dude’s been chewing glass over lockdown to get that authentic Lemmy / Mike Ness rasp! Shout out to the backing vocal department on this album, the likes of ‘Something Faster’ and ‘Ghosts’ have a quality you don’t hear every day. Full band vocals and memorable choruses go a long way to elevate the tunes to anthemic sing-a-longs.
Ten tracks of no-frills filth, job done!
If you like your music with dirt under the fingernails and grease in the hair, if you dig no frills rock n’ roll with 3 chords and tons of attitude then The City Kids could be right up your street. ‘Filth’ is a step in the right direction for JJ and the boys and is available now to purchase on a shiny spinning disc with a cool cover. I suggest you click on the link below and add it to your collection. Hell, buy a few for Xmas pressies, RPM Santa insists!
Author: Ben Hughes