Debut LP from The Mark Vodka Group oh you know those guys from Nova Scotia, Canada. Well, it’s the place to be and the best band there are called The Mark Vodka Group, that’s a fact I’ve not seen disputed and they include members of the Booji Boys? Their 2019 opus ‘Tube Reducer’ was reviewed on these very pages last year. This however is a different beast altogether as ‘I Wanna Piss In The Face Of The World’ kicks things offs we strap ourselves in for a rocket ride of punk rock that raw, rapid and reckless.  It’s taking no prisoners as it rattles through the catchy fast-paced opener.

This is different from the Boojis, of course. While they bury hooks in clouds of distortion, the Mark Vodka Group go for a more accessible sound, Sure its still ‘lo-fi’ and very much DIY. They’ve had their sound described like “a bare-bones Descendants at their most irritably bratty, stealing the Oblivians’ homework and doodling stupid faces all over the most insightful parts”. I wouldn’t dispute that.  ‘Goon’ is fash and sharp and to the point, it sounds dumb and full of fun as it races to the finish line, Punk as fuck one might say.

It might be quick but its tuneful and ‘Boy (I’m Allergic To You)’ has a tip of the hat to the kings of melodic punk-pop Buzzcocks.  It’s not the only time the homage to the Buzzcocks is aired on this record either ‘Everybody’s Punk Now’, which also boasts a killer Buzzcocks homage. Truth be told, Homages seem like a good idea as ‘You’ve Got To Split’ tips the cap to the Ramones.  That’s two greats being aped so you know where these guys are coming from right? Right! Even the song titles give a hint ‘Now I Wanna Be A Bad Boy’ they’ve even got a tune for big-time Charlies and they spit out contempt on ‘Big Time Rocker’ and throw in a suitably smart solo to ram their point home even if they are playing to the converted. 

‘Touch Of Grey’ reminds me of the great Pete Perrett and his only ones with its gentler less confrontational strummings. Which only leaves ‘Mark’s Blues’ laments at the album’s close, even when the world turns to shit, there’s always booze: “The drinking hasn’t let me down yet.” I guess Mark Vodka isn’t just a random name. This is a really good record, in a time when new bands are thin on the ground especially ones who can pick up the torch and run with it so raise a glass to Mark Vodka Group. 

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Author: Dom Daley

When I first saw this I must admit to being slightly skeptical off the back off the last studio album maybe they were heading into the quick cash in and bash out an acoustic album of classic Skids.  Well, happy to report I was wrong there.  Whilst it is indeed an acoustic Skids record it gives the impression of being well thought out and lovingly put together from the lush string synth or real strings it matters not because hearing a lush ‘Into the Valley’ is a beautiful thing.  they slow it right down to a funeral march tempo and throw in everything from the strings to the percussion and plentiful backing vocals ‘Into The Valley’ never sounded so good and Jobson’s voice sounds weathered and emotional.

Don’t stop there folks because over the next ten songs this record soars high and to be fair is a majestic thing from the hand claps and drums of ‘World On Fire’ this record is already ablaze and whilst the synths are cheating if you’re calling it an acoustic album but when you drop the needle and crack open that stone cold beer you’ll get the picture when you sink back into a comfy chair and let this wash over you.

Dipping into their last studio album ‘Burning Cities’ for ‘Kings Of the New World Order’ it’s always tough when you try to pitch new with old especially when the old are classics like ‘Into The Valley’ and the piano-driven ‘Saints Are Coming’ with a spectacular arrangement to be fair and again Jobson seems to have found his niche vocally.

‘Days In Europa’ is represented by a Crosby, Stills and Nash vibe on ‘Animation’. ‘Hurry On Boys’ from ‘The Absolute Game’ begins a little bit piraty for my liking and ‘Blood And Soil’ from ‘Joy’ is also reworked into something of an epic and sounds regal on its chorus. I think that’s it, every Skids album represented with ‘Joy’ also lending ‘Fields’ to proceedings.  We’ve also got a brand new track added to proceedings in the shape of ‘Kreuzberg 79but its the finale of ‘Desert Dust’ again from the last studio album that leaves you like a good friend leaving with a reassuring hand to the shoulder.  the Skids have turned in a fantastic record.  Sure Acoustic albums have seen their fifteen minutes when MTV was a thing but every now and again one comes along and hits you for six and this boundary is courtesy of The Skids.  Check it out that’s my advice although I’d have loved to have heard them take on ‘Yankee Dollar’ but I guess you can’t please everybody all the time and this will most certainly do. Good effort.


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Author: Dom Daley