Bermondsey Joyriders: Noise And Revolution – album review

Bermondsey Joyriders ‘Noise And Revolution’ (Fuel Injection)
Ltd Vinyl
Out Now

Radical blues punks The Bermondsey Joyriders recently announced that, by popular demand, they were reissuing a limited edition red vinyl pressing of their acclaimed second album ‘Noise & Revolution’ this summer. Louder Than War’s Martin Haslam got hold of a copy early here’s his review.

Some of you kind people who read my reviews may think I’m overenthusiastic from time to time; ‘can this album he’s banging on about really be this great?’ I sympathise, but there is a simple reason for this; I only review music that I genuinely love. Life’s too short for anything else. (Esp when you’re not getting paid for your writing – Ed).

Bearing this in mind, the only reason that ‘Noise And Revolution’ by The Bermondsey Joyriders missed my ‘potential album of the year’ list was because it was originally released last year, when it became Vive Le Rock magazine’s Album Of The Year. On Sept 2nd, it will be released on strictly limited edition (300) cherry red vinyl, with front opening gatefold sleeve and stunning inner sleeve with lyrics, pictures to represent each song AND narration.

Yes, narration notes. For this album is a rare thing; a concept piece that avoids any Prog noodling and sticks to its manifesto of punk rock n’ roll, with a slice of blues and psychedelia. All songs hit the spot in under four minutes, while the role of narrator is handled by John Sinclair, ex-manager of the MC5 and performance poet with a deep Detroit drawl. Quite the opposite of singer / guitarist Gary Lammin (ex-Cock Sparrer / Little Roosters), who sticks to his London roots. He is ably assisted on bass by Martin ‘Gentleman James’ Stacey (ex-Chelsea), and a revolving drumstool position filled on record by, among others, Rat Scabies. They now have Chris Musto on drums (ex-Johnny Thunders).

 

So, punk credentials well and truly in place. This is an odyssey, started on an American road trip by Lammin. On returning home, he was asked by Sinclair to provide guitar backing to his live readings. The seed was sown.

So, onto the music…

‘Society Is Rapidly Changing’ bursts forth after the start of the narration. Manic slide guitar in a tight three-piece band. Elmore James channelled by Old London Town. Corrupt property developers tear down neighbourhoods, replacing them with ‘a multi complex hamburger gaff’.

‘Right Now’; all that can save us is punk rock ‘n’ roll. You knew that already, right? Referencing Little Richard, Howlin’ Wolf, The Who, Hendrix and The Stones, with a clear sense of humour but the music here is no joke.

‘1977’ does sound like it, in a good way. ‘Keep asking questions’. Short , sharp shock. As is ‘Noise And Revolution’. Maybe Scabies plays on this one? Certainly sounds like The Damned attacking The Cramps.

‘Tru Punk’ says what it needs to in 1.48. ‘True punks? Yeah, right! On yer bike!’. Urban decay and the battle against it, as the narration continues.

‘Creepy Crawlers’ has a brooding riff that you will have heard somewhere before, but certainly no better than here. End of side one.

Side two starts with John Sinclair’s narration, ‘Stand Strong’, leading into ‘London Bridge’. Eastern spices, with keys by Elliot Mortimer, Jim Jones’ previous piano man. ‘Come on now people, keep standing strong, like London Bridge, all day long’. A touch of Steve Marriot in Lammin’s voice. Excellent.

‘Cuppa Tea’ has Sinclair waxing lyrical about the mystical properties of our cuppa, which segues into ‘Proper English’ and its Kinks style class observations. ‘He likes to do the crossword too, ’cause if you’re English mate, that’s what you do!’

‘We Got A Gig’ warns the band of the perils awaiting them at…’The Shaking Leaves’. Dangerous, infamous women, a tune that sounds like Lee Brilleaux playing in a swinging 60’s dive.

‘Rock Star’ caught my attention when I saw the band supporting The Flamin’ Groovies recently. ‘I like flying about in a private jet, I never pay no tax, I always forget’. Wish I’d bought that t-shirt now..

‘Rock n’ Roll Demon’ points towards Robert Johnson’s crossroads; ‘you can keep your body, but you just can’t keep your mind’. Must the artist always be a tortured soul? Not if we’re smart.

‘The Truth Walks Alone’ ends the album. ‘The world keeps turning, by hook or by crook, and the truth walks alone, that’s how it’s starting to look’. The cd version is great in its own right, but this vinyl package looks fantastic, sounds better and, crucially, SMELLS lovely. What? You haven’t got a turntable? Call yourself a music lover? On yer bike!

The Bermondsey Joyriders website is here. They can also be found on Facebook & Twitter.

All words by Martin Haslam. More work by Martin on Louder Than War can be found here.

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