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BILLY RUFFIAN – My Secret Life (CD, Filthy Little Angels)

Posted: June 17th, 2007, by JGRAM

With a band name that just screams aggression, the record doesn’t take long to mark a target and start a fight. Complete with something of a real bitterness, the character Billy Ruffian comes flying out of the tower blocks of Manchester, rant and raving all over what may or may not be something of a modern concept album about a dick.

Often sounding like Art Brut if they were tasty in a ruck, within a few songs Billy Ruffian has taken pops at the music industry, other bands, girls, anything it would seem before descending into some kind of flexing self loathing pose with a drink problem and obsession with death.

Musically rounded by fizzy guitars that sound like sirens, heavy bass lines and occasional brass section accompaniments, song writing that is true has an end product the often sounds like a mash of The Fall and Roxy Music on a budget fronted by Frank Sidebottom or at least his best friend at school. Later it also occurs to me that this is how the Sultans Of Ping (ask your parents or consult a history book) would sound were they played at the wrong speed slow.

The evident humour is often difficult to decipher as the songs play either hit or miss, reaching a low point with the Tiger Lillies-esqe “Ballad Of Billy Ruffian” which is a sad descend into cheese. Fortunately the sharp boiled lyrical content of the excellent “Music v Money” is the lasting recollection after the album has long passed. The lyrics are clearly crafted as narrations of turmoil and frustration, commonplace with any listener/observer that has ever been involved.

The album ends with “The Last Day”, a satisfactory way to end an album, working like the speech of somebody lying on their death bed (maybe Mr Ruffian). Unlike other things from Manchester, this is educated and very much underdog in its making but full of potential to equally ruffle feathers.

Thesaurus moment: sly.

Billy Ruffian
Filthy Little Angels


JGram, friend of the stars, chartered accountant and pie enthusiast, likes nothing better than KICKING YOUR SKINNY ASS by way of a carefully-timed half-nelson followed by the CLOTHES LINE! OW! So never, never cross him. His dog Snowy is equally rockhard and will bite your lim bs off in the blink of an eye. And then paw your eyes out for blinking when he's biting you.

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