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The Bordellos

Posted: March 25th, 2008, by Mandy Williams

The Bordellos (album)
Songs For Swinging Stalkers

It’s St Helens and not the Ukraine that spawned this band, not Gogol Bordello simply The Bordellos. We have here a four piece who produce their own brand of rock and roll, psychedelic, country pop. This re-release of their debut download album ‘Songs For Swinging Stalkers,’ follows last year’s album ‘Meet The Bordellos,’ both released on The Brutarian Label.

‘Velvet Mind,’ sounds like a Smashing Pumpkins composition performed by The Velvet Underground. Muffled vocals dominate the psychedelic sound, which descends eventually into grinding machine noise. George Best and Dennis Wilson inspired ‘Deadwood’. It starts with a murmuring guitar line that whispers like the soundtrack to a spooky thriller. Then it turns into a driving Ramones rocker with the odd vocal cry of ‘stroke the pussy til it begins to purr.’

‘Is Death the End’ layers on the Motown rhythms and shaky tambourines. It’s a roaring soulful number inspired by Johnny cash. Although clinically morose and smashed out of his head the protagonist of ‘Little Bird,’ persuades the feathered friend to hop on his hand on a late Beatles slide guitar piece. ‘The Hurting Kind’ is a touch of early Floyd while The Bunnymen-esque ‘Poet or liar,’ grabs you with its addictive bass riffs. ‘Blank Letter,’ entices you with its blues chord progression. The week after Jeff Buckley lilts along in tribute to the purveyor of ‘a thoughtful rhythm in southern Californian style.’ ‘The autumn of my youth has whispered its final goodbye,’ howls the singer. ‘Setting Sun,’ is an acoustic harmonica ballad sung by a dissonant Northern Neil Young. ‘Melancholia’ is Fried era Cope while ‘Plasticine Man,’ was inspired by the late great Syd Barrett.

The Bordellos wear their diverse influences very much on their sleeves. They owe a big debt to sixties psychedelia but borrow from post punk seventies bands in equal measure. This makes for an intriguingly weird combination of sound. The vocals veer between Mark E. Smith and Pete Shelley. The flattened northern vowels and lispy consonants were quite literally recorded under a pile of coats. With titles the fall like ‘Drunk (is a state I like to call home)’ and ‘Too old for love bites, they come from the HMHB school of lyricism.

A plethora of themes and sounds punctuate this album, The Doors do The Fall maybe? You are never bored as you wait for the next strange offering to assail your ears. They may be no gypsy punks but I bet they could hold their own in a fight.


Mandy Williams


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