Pete Bentham & The Dinner Ladies ‘England’s Up For Sale’ – album review

Pete Bentham & The Dinner Ladies ‘England’s Up For Sale’ (Antipop Records)
Rel Date 25th October 2019

With a decade of DIY gigs across the UK and Europe, two albums and a raft of singles under their belt its safe to say Liverpool’s Pete Bentham & The Dinner Ladies have firmly established themselves within the underground fraternity playing their self-defined ‘Kitchencore’.

On the evidence within ‘England’s Up For Sale’ its clear they are showing no sign of resting on their laurels; this is a far grittier album, yes the defining quirkiness remains intact, but spread across the eleven tracks is a sense of rage hinted at within the album title.

Pete Bentham & The Dinner Ladies have an idiosyncratic sound – typical of their home cities take on punk rock; a sound rooted in early the punk rumblings, combined with garage rock then lit with an art school sensibility.

Opener ‘Brick’ commences with a chanted “it’s not a metaphor… it’s a brick” ahead of a soaring saxophone instantly reminiscent of those earliest Essential Logic gems.

‘Controlled by Buildings’ is lyrically astute, addressing the subtle mind controlled exercised by the likes of Tesco, Sainsburys etc. The track is built around a powerhouse sound that made me think of The Cravats, possibly the only other band out there as distinct as The Dinner Ladies; much of that praise should be shouldered by said Ladies, a tight rhythm section courtesy of Pete Andtwoveg (Bass) and Tony Calzone (Drums) who provide the platform for Sonny Rollingpin to add sax flashes, whilst Pete thrashes out simple yet effective guitar riffs.

‘Goth Postman’ is a true story, there is a goth loving postman working in Liverpool, underneath the standard Royal Mail colours there are glimpses of black, eyes flecked with kohl as a genuinely haunting sax entwines its way through the arrangement, that same sax guides us through an off kilter jazz tinged title track ‘England’s Up For Sale’ a reflection of the Brexit mess the country currently finds itself mired.


‘Let’s Drive’ is more instant, a rollicking garage thumper with some wonderful half inched Motown harmonies, similarly ‘Free Hugs For Thugs’ which has a punk intensity to match the barbed lyric only equalled once again by the solid rhythm.

Beneath the light-hearted ‘Better to Be Good (Than a Hood)’ is a simple message that broadens to address rising violence, knife crime all the while wrapped up in a lilting folk rock vibe.

With ‘England’s Up For Sale’ Pete Bentham & The Dinner Ladies have crafted their most lyrically astute album to date, whilst retaining their distinct catch all sound, a sound that borrows from everything including the kitchen(core) sink.


1. Brick
2. Controlled by Buildings
3. Goth Postman
4. England’s Up for Sale
5. Let’s Drive
6. Genres
7. There Goes the Neighbourhood
8. Free Hugs for Thugs
9. Better to Be Good (Than a Hood)
10. A Bas le Caviar Vive le Kebab
11. Always Say Thank You (To the Driver of the Bus)

Pete Bentham & The Dinner Ladies online:


More writing by Phil can be found at his Louder Than War Author’s Archive

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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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