The Scaramanga Six: Phanthom Head – album review

The Scaramanga Six – Phantom Head (Wrath Records)
Out now

The Scaramanga Six are described as ‘West Yorkshire’s premiere evil pop group’. They’ve released their seventh studio album, Phantom Head, and this is Louder Than War’s review of it.

It’s not usually my thing, modern rock, but I always think everything deserves one listen & I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with Phantom Head’, an album that collects together twelve tracks of pretty entertaining underground rock.

Based around brothers Paul and Steven Morricone, The Scaramanga Six bring well-made melodies and screeches in a variety of styles from pop to punk that often reminded me of New Model Army. Along the way, they also made me think of Ian McNabb / Icicle Works, particularly on the opener, ‘I Will Crush Your Heart’ which could have been quite easily lifted from their ‘Defeat Your Enemy’ album.

They’ve been around for about fifteen years and have always released stuff on their own label. During that time they’ve built themselves a loyal following and have received much critical acclaim along the way. Such is their reputation that they have managed to get legendary Stooges and Nirvana producer, Steve Albini, to contribute to the album, one which was recorded live in Chicago & all of which is included here.

‘I Am The Rain’ has an anthemic chorus and the addition of a second drummer on the album adds real potency. We have hints of gospel on the brilliant ‘The Bristol Butcher’ which also has a hint of The Who’s ‘Pinball Wizard’, progressing into Led Zeppelin (‘Whole Lotta Love’), with a little punk thrown in for good measure. The diversity of the album is such that it makes it very enjoyable and listenable.

The guitars are tight, the melodies are memorable and effective and the production is spot-on. ‘Blunt Force Trauma’ is rockier still.

Album highlight is ‘Twist The Knife’ which, with it’s spoken vocal and explosive chorus is reminiscent of the Pixies style – ie with loose guitar and striking bass. It has a killer lyric too. If you listen to no more of this album, then make sure you listen to this track.

Closer, ‘The Stepford Bands’ is again a lesson in songwriting. Opening with a great melody and venturing into another roaring rock effort it’s a fitting end to a good solid album.

Oh, and it’s got a great album sleeve.


The Scaramanga Six‘s website is here. They’re also on Facebook & Twitter.

All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is Heaven Is A Place On Pendle. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, easily one of the best radio shows on the BBC. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow his personal twitter, @hiapop.

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