Johnny Kowalski & The Sexy Weirdos – Kill The Beast (Sexy Weirdos Bandcamp)
Birmingham-based gypsy folk band Johnny Kowalski & The Sexy Weirdos release their new album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
With vocals sounding like a cross between Marc Almond and Joe Strummer, and music somewhere between Spanish Flamenco, New Orleans jazz and European travellers, Johnny Kowalski & The Sexy Weirdo’s bring us their unique blend of gypsy-carnival-punk.
With added influences from reggae and ska, Kill The Beast is a fast-paced, high excitement album which parties along from the first seconds to the final few. At little over 30 minutes the lads cram in an unbelievable array of good time feelings spread over ten tracks.
Intentions are made clear with the madcap opener Nailbiter, in which Johnny’s punk-esque vocals shout over superb musicianship with screeching violins and celebratory brass. Allegedly using The Clash’s tuba player from Sandinista, Bowie’s mixing desk, the guitar from Joy Division and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin’s drum kit, The Sexy Weirdos modern day take on anarchic carnival sounds are enthralling and original.
Tequila Song is the barmy drinking song of the year. A frenetic ska tune tipping a hat in the direction of The Specials and Selecter, you’ll be singing it for ages afterwards. Its subject matter probably won’t win it much airplay but that’s all the more reason to get a copy of Kill The Beast and hear it for yourself.
Midway through The Good Shark there’s a brilliant dub touch followed by a sumptuous bass and vocals interlude. A bit of a missed opportunity which could have seen a terrific dub section lasting to the end of the track, but that’s a rare criticism of an otherwise thoroughly entertaining album.
Johnny Kowalski & The Sexy Weirdos are fun and incredibly talented songwriters and musicians too.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.