The God Damn Whores ‘Heya-Heya-Heya-Heya-Ho!’ (Leafy Hand Records/Pledge Music)
After a seven-year hiatus, the legendary ‘Random’ Jon Poole has finally given his patient fans a treat; two albums released simultaneously. I say legendary, but if you need a brief history lesson, Mr Poole cut his teeth in the genuinely seminal Cardiacs and currently plays with both The Wildhearts and Ginger Wildheart’s solo band. So, clearly a very talented and busy man. We’ll therefore forgive him the delay between God Damn Whores releases. Just.
Jon is, essentially, God Damn Whores. Their first album ‘We Are The Lucky Thirteen’ was released in 2006 and was a loud and proud homage to some of the music of his youth; referencing early Ants, Dead Kennedys and snippets of XTC (at least to these ears). ‘Heya..’ is cut from similar sonic cloth, but is more varied in style and content. It’s been too long, so let’s dive in…
‘Introducing The Whores’ is short, sweet and tough. Although Poole plays all instruments apart from some “stunt guitar solos” by Jase Edwards, it sounds like a band. Tribal rhythms, chants and some obligatory swearing. A guitar sound somewhere between Bolan and Marco Pirroni. Tasty.
‘Mundane And Beautiful’ melds a riff with a Sparks-like melody. Some possibly autobiographical lyrics? “She had a wedge and pin-stripe jeans…we’d often get up to no good”. I’ll have to ask when I interview him.
‘Media Slave’ starts with a Cardiacs feel, understandably, but becomes a catchy pop-fest, dreaming of simpler, naïve times “when the choice was far and few between”. I can’t pretend to know what goes on in his head, but it reminds me of school discos; horrific but alluring. Like a car crash. “We don’t belong here”. Mr Poole, I think I might understand.
‘Poolius Caesar’ has Rich Jones to thank for the title. “A paranoid Roman leader”, set to Ants drumming and hints of Tenpole Tudor. But much, much better than that might sound. My life improves whenever my mp3 player treats me to this song.
‘Sparkly Silver Sk’ is manna from Heaven for Cardiacs fans; a song written by Jon while in the band, but never released until now (apart from live versions). That Tim Smith took to some of Jon’s songs speaks volumes, and the musicianship is as dazzling as the title. Enjoy.
‘The Harrowing Line’ has many little sounds from the early 80’s, yet I can’t pin it down. It sounds like Jon; perhaps a link to his solo album, which I will review soon. Similarly, it’s less guitar-driven, but extremely catchy; chants, sweet backing vocals. “Just show me some vague sign of humanity, this is solidarity”.
And so to the hit-that-never-will- be; ‘Fucking Hell’. Jon has written a monster tune, once heard, never forgotten. A terrace anthem for people who don’t like football, a glorious pop classic that will be number 1 in an alternative universe. Reason alone for buying this album.
‘Macho Sapiens’ talks of the “dubious scene, a homophobic wet dream” of some of the sadder, dated attitudes of the metal scene. Featuring another Jase Edwards fret-shredding solo, this would be ideal for Rob Halford’s next solo album; “camping it up is the positive option”. Incidentally, Poole was once described as “camp” by none other than the delightful Dale Winton. High praise indeed.
‘Diligence’ is certainly worthy of Cardiacs. Put them in a wrestling ring with Sparks and it might sound like this. “We weren’t programmed to blindly follow you, continuing our mission to the truth”. If you’re familiar with Ginger Wildheart’s amazing 555% triple disc opus, you’ll know why Random Jon Poole is such an essential part of his band. This is music from another planet.
‘Cynical Haze’ continues the thread of Ants-heavy drums and bass (not drum and bass). Chock full of “do-do-dooh”s, it is another ludicrously infectious tune.
‘Trip A.M’ dips a toe in stranger waters. Certainly hallucinatory, with some guitar touches from his time in Cardiacs. “The hill has turned into a rhino”. Indeed. While it’s still clearly Mr Poole, this shows that God Damn Whores are capable of branching out.
And so it ends, with ‘We’re Going To Live For A Very Long Time’. A Heaven 17 cover which I was previously unaware of, it fits well within the album. While I’ve now enjoyed hearing the original, I do love this version; it’s celebratory and defiant at the same time. And goes on for a very long time……
‘Heya-Heya-Heya-Heya-Ho!’ is a more than worthy successor to ‘We Are The Lucky Thirteen’. While it retains a lot of the same sounds, it takes Random Jon Poole’s adolescent influences and expands on them. Growing, but not growing up. Heaven forbid!