Wild Billy Childish & The Spartan Dreggs ‘Forensic R’n’B – album review
Wild Billy Childish & The Spartan Dreggs “Forensic R’n’B”Â
Damaged Goods Records (DAMGOOD 376)
CD/LP”â Available 26th September 2011
Yet another musical chapter from Britain’s most prodigious artist ”â For those of you still unaware Billy Childish is an accomplished musician, he is also an author, poet, photographer / film maker and painter ”â he is renowned for his brutal honesty detailing the torment of his childhood; not bad for a school leaver who was certified dyslexic”Â¦
Childish has had his name attached to over 140 album and single releases ”â woe betide any person who chooses to collect his entire discography, but if that’s you; make room for The Spartan Dreggs…
The Spartan Dreggs are Neil Palmer on vocals/guitar, Billy Childish on bass/vocals, his wife Nurse Julie on backing vocals/drums and Wolf Howard on drums. The Dreggs were formed from the ashes of Vermin Poets in early 2011, and took their moniker from a Poets track – the plan being to release their output on a succession of 7”Â singles (Damaged Goods Records) which buyers subscribed to ”â once the singles were released they were all bundled together as the ”ËForensic R’n’B’ album.
Billy Childish likes to retain tight artistic control, as such ”ËForensic R’n’B’ is essentially lo-fi which merely adds to its beauty ”â love it warts and all! The title track opens proceedings with a 60’s garage inspired stomp that benefits from the warmth Nurse Julie brings on the backing vocals. Slightly more psychedelic overtones during ”ËThe Ocean River Runs Around The Edge’ ”â some sharp lyrics during ”ËTower Block’ which is built around a solid bass riff. Things get more trippy during ”ËThe Physics Of Blown Sand And Desert Dunes’ ”â well they’d have to with a title like that! Such is the speed that Childish is able to release his material ”ËThe Physics”Â¦’ even manages to mention the Libyan town of Benghazi; the bullets are still flying there!!
For anyone with more than a passing interest in all things Childish ”â then this is an essential purchase, The Dreggs are clearly a release valve for his more psychotic 60’s styled rock however this will not prepare you for ”ËIntertidal Marshland’ which opens with tape hiss and a lone frail vocal, before launching into a sleazy riff heavy wig out. ”ËPegasus Bridge’ is as if someone dismembered a Phil Specter chart topper but then wasn’t quite able to put it back together again ”â there are so many buried melodies and then there are the opportunities for huge multi voiced chouses, its as if Childish is luring us in, demanding that we declare what’s coming next then willfully defying his audience.
The final two tracks ”ËA Dismembered Book Of Myself’, ”ËAre You A Wally?’, are throwbacks to Childish’s punk beginnings and even manage to name check The Nightingales ”â all good songs but somewhat at odds to the rest of the album; but then that’s no doubt the point.
”ËForensic R’n’B’ sees Childish further mapping out his own musical route map entirely unconcerned with what is current, what is now ”â he absorbs influences and then feeds it back to you with his own punk, garage rock slant; other bands ”Ëdevelop’ ”â you know the sort of thing, add brass, keyboards ”â Childish to his credit keeps things simple but effective, this is unpretentious, its organic – if you like your rock ‘n’ roll in the raw form then The Spartan Dreggs are worthy of your attention.
Track listing: Forensic R’n’B, The Ocean River Runs Around the Edge, Tower Block, And Darkness Engulfed His Eyes, The Physics Of Blown Sand And Desert Dunes, The Fighting Tameraire, Our Strange Power Of Speech, Intertidal Marshland, The Charcoal Burners Lament, Pegasus Bridge, A Dismembered Book Of Myself, Scout-a-boo, Are You A Wally? (Or Are You A Smooth?), Paeleo Punk