Johny Skullknuckles & The Kopek Millionaires ‘Heartaches & Hardons’ – album review

Johny Skullknuckles & The Kopek Millionaires ‘Heartaches & Hardons’ (JSK Records)
Available now

First release from Johny Skullknuckles and his oddly monikered Kopek Millionaires; Skullknuckles being the charismatic ex guitarist for a whole host of bands including Jayne County & The Electric Chairs, Section 5, The Anti-Nowhere League, and also Goldblade; as such he has shared a stage with some of the undergrounds most prominent front men and women; and with Wayne/Jayne, all points in between!!

The formation of the (currently studio only) Kopek Millionaires sees him step from these shadows and with this first self-released EP instantly deliver a shot across the bows that should see him gain the attention his former band mates are used to;

‘S.F.I.L’ opens proceedings and immediately references Skullknuckles own musical history; sleaze punk roots and layers of guitar noise…’One Broken Heart’ has a darker edge but is essentially a huge, twangy foot stomper that also allows Skullknuckles to display his previously unheard vocal talents; ‘Over You’ is frankly magnificent – three minutes of pop genius, its crammed with razor sharp hooks, and comes at you with ferocious energy, this is an all guns blazing rush of exuberance; ‘Amphetamine Blues’ is the sole cover version, though Skullknuckles effortlessly brings enough to the Vibrators tune to call it his own…’Six O’clock In The Morning’ is a twisted power pop ballad complete with keyboard effects and neat guitar solo; the entire EP is constructed around driving guitar and drum riffs which combine in a punk/Hanoi Rocks style sleaze fest; the result being a collection of insanely catchy, raucous rebel rousers.

This is a very strong release that should find favour with anyone who loves big guitar riffs and strident defined vocals – for reasons best known to Skullknuckles the initial pressing consists of just 77 copies; I suggest you buy yours now.

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.


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