||THE PECKHAM COWBOYS
'10 Tales From The Gin Palace'
Release Date: 14th February 2014
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
Resplendent in alcohol and sleaze before being dipped in the grimy and grubby underbelly of Mick Jagger's dirty underwear, enter the saloon of your choice a new band crawling out from the London smog.
They go by the name of The Peckham Cowboys. Who are these guys I hear you yell? On this album you get the former Hanoi Rocks and Izzy Stradlin Band guitarist Timo Kaitio, Nigel Mogg from The Quireboys on bass plus Duncan McKay, known for his work with Primal Scream, adding his talents on horns and keys.
Your attention will not be broken when I also inform you that Ryan McCormick (Steven Adler Band) is handling drum duties and the vocalist who is guilty of assembling this unruly mob goes by the name of Marc Eden.
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This isn't their first album as a revolving door line-up has been (dis)functioning since just before they released a debut album in 2011 called 'Flog It!'
I'd be lying if I said I knew what to expect from this album the first time I activated the debut listening session of '10 Tales From The Gin Palace', but let me say that if you thought The Quireboys were the epitome of sleazy Rock n'Roll or perhaps even The Dogs D'Amour, then prepare for your eyes and ears to be opened. This is extraordinary.
Fading in my left ear is the hustle and bustle of what could be a busy London cafe or bar. No sign of Rock n'Roll but there is certainly a whiff of cigarettes and sweaty underarms already established. 'Not Guilty!' with its infectious cry of "Not guilty!" which almost hints at primal Alice Cooper, cannot fight the instinctive draw towards a helpless swagger.
Listen out for the horn section which adds some carnival to the personality. I'm a sucker for some brass when used liberally and used effectively.
If you're from London in some way, then forgive the novelty that I am experiencing when I hear this collection of tracks. I'm a country bumpkin and hearing a pure London accent and soaking up the vibes of the capital city in songs like 'The Debt Collector' complete with a subtle reggae wink-and-a-nudge; hormone-driven 'Bromley Girls' with its cheeky observations and aspirations plus the haunting brass that accompanies the moody 'Don't Damn The Hypnotist'; I find their romanticised imagery framed in this grubby sound somewhat charming.
Incidentally, there's an appearance on the dub-flavoured 'Don't Damn The Hypnotist' by 'Rebel MC' Congo Natty.
Tasty harmonica adds another texture during 'Quarantined' whilst the straight-ahead Rolling Stones influences shine on the instrumentation of 'She Was Sweet On Me' during the verses, until a raucous chorus bursts in to life breaking all the empty pint glasses that haven't been collected yet.
Sharing the same name as a Poison song and little more, 'Poor Boy Blues' hints at attitude and gives off an air of prickly enthusiasm. Riding a delicious groove, 'Cut It Out' doesn't hang around and melts in the ears with 'You're Only In It For The Money' dripping in irony.
'10 Tales From The Gin Palace' was a pleasant surprise and a pure joy to listen to. As an observation, a couple of things that help this album reach satisfying heights are how the songs never overstay their welcome, and how various textures are formed with layers of either guitar, vocals, harmonica or brass.
The rhythm section provide a great foundation for the other mayhem to share their spoils and whatever you say, this has outgrown being merely a 'South London Thing'.
The Debt Collector
Don't Damn The Hypnotist
Poor Boy Blues
You're Only In It For The Money
She Was Sweet On Me
Cut It Out