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HERE THE BRUTE HARPIES MAKE THEIR NESTS * album of the week *
:: Julian Gaskell (& His Ragged Trousered Philanthropists) ::
21 September 2009 / No Label Required / RTP Recordings / 15 Trk CD
By JA

Julian Gaskell once more, assembles his Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (also featuring long time associate Kester Jones). Recorded down in Falmouth and St Keverne and then mastered in the New Forest, Julian is firmly at the helm on this album, which seems driven by the sound of drunken sailors, irate country folk and some occasional outright punk rock. Lyrically, this constitutes an imposing and enjoyable collection of words. ‘I never trust a man who says he don’t like Elvis..’ he firmly declares on “Gastro Pubs”.

Musically, there’s the continued measure of protest song and European gypsy bohemia stirred in with Hispanic and Latino influences, captured within the urgent soul of the political new wave movement as espoused by the Clash (check out the up tempo punk / folk / ska attack of “Pushing Up The Weeds” and “Kolomeyke”, both of which almost make a Specials re-union pointless). Moments appear like the extended drum and percussion solo on “Bottle of Luck”, which must be a definite riot live.

There are also journeys into realms of relative strangeness – “The Old Cow Died” is a traditional piece that was a fairly robust and basic chant to begin with, but with a heavy clatter it all ends up with a fizz of feedback and what could quite possibly be actual fighting, before “Dustbins Amongst Men” delivers an instrumental interlude, constructed from rumbles and in general, the sound of the earth turning. If one thing can help demonstrate what Julian Gaskell is up to (and has previously done in the past), it’s the track “No Housing Benefit Smokers Or Pets” – a brash, word heavy social text, accompanied by the energetic clatter of an electric guitar's hurried rattles and twangs. A Bulgarian traditional tune “Gankino Horo”, is excitedly hacked and brushed up into a fragmented wig-out, in what can only can be described as some kind of gypsy punk prog rock melee, but it’s not before long that there’s a return to their best topic via “Weep In Your Beer”. The album concludes with “The People’s Piano”, the breakneck sound of the band barrelling down a hill, pausing for a drink on the way down, before providing one last energetic cartwheel down the final furlong. Great stuff indeed.


MMMM ½




Resources:
Julian Gaskell And The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

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