Pete Bentham And The Dinner Ladies: Spacepunx – EP review

Pete Bentham And The Dinner Ladies ‘Spacepunx’ (Free Rock & Roll)
7” Vinyl/DL
Available now

Back in February 2013 LTW chatted to Liverpool based musical maverick Pete Bentham, during the course of our conversation (LTW interview) he mention the at that point, forthcoming new Pete Bentham And The Dinner Ladies ‘Spacepunx’ EP; well Pete’s a man of his word and said EP landed on the LTW turntable earlier this week…

The EP released on Pete’s own Free Rock & Roll label is dedicated to Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin; the release marking the 50th anniversary of him being the first human to journey into outer space when he completed an orbit of the earth on 12th April 1961.

Opening with a 30 second original radio recording celebrating Gagarin’s achievement, before initially giving way to a flourish of Mexican cantina which then morphs into a typical lo-fi garage punk romp enriched with some subtle brass and backing harmonies over which Pete questions the subsequent exploitation of Gagarin by his Communist paymasters; ‘Is There Anybody Out There’ may borrow a Pink Floyd title, however the similarities end there; a questioning lament as Pete seeks a person with the required character to face todays challenges over a wonderfully contemplative brass section that has similarities to the more restrained moments of X-Ray Spex; ‘Dinner Ladies Are Go!’ a two minute declaration of intent, a surf infused garage stomper as Pete warns that you “Don’t fuck around with The Dinner Ladies”

It’s also well worth mentioning the gorgeous packaging; the sleeve was designed by Liz Mullen who clearly fully understood Pete’s brief – The front cover artwork on the Spacepunx EP is an illustration of some of the band wearing spacesuits – this band is on a mission! The design style and colours were influenced by vintage Russian Communist posters. It is in keeping alongside the bands logo emblem of a Dinner Lady saluting, whilst the rear cover was inspired by a true story about Yuri Gagarin landing back down to earth. The story goes, upon returning to earth the first people Yuri Gagarin saw was a woman and her daughter picking potatoes in a field near where his capsule landed. On approaching them, the woman asked: “Can it be that you have come from outer space?” to which he replied, “As a matter of fact, I have!” As soon as I heard this charming tale, I wanted to capture it in an image.

An entirely self-funded, self-released EP from a fiercely independent performer; we need more people like Pete Bentham – Buy this EP.

Hey Yuri!
Is There Anybody Out There?
Dinner Ladies are Go!
Mr Astronaut

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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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