Wobbly Lamps – Neon Tee Pee/She Wants Me Dead (Polyvinyl Craftsmen Records)
It’s amazing what a trip to the kitchen can do for a record isn’t it. The first time I listened to this debut offering from Southend-on-Sea’s Wobbly Lamps I was indifferent so I went to pour myself a whisky and settled back in to my listening chair. After a couple of sips I pressed play again and suddenly the lo-fi, swampy, bluesy, garagey blusterings made much more sense. This is the music I grew up on but I’d forgotten all about. This is small town angst played out by men with bigger music collections than bank balances and more passion than ability. Now don’t get me wrong, these songs are well crafted and fall in to that ilk that houses the likes of the Jam, Doves and early Kaiser Chiefs. But there is something else here that makes it all the more appealing and that is a tendency to flirt with American blues rock which leaves you reaching for your Black Keys or White Stripes collections.
Lead track ‘Neon Tee Pee’ swaggers and staggers like a man that’s been up for three days on the mother of all benders but still knows which way ‘cool’ is even if he doesn’t know where home is. It’s a desperate, itchy, claustrophobic song that almost begs for mercy by the time it stumbles to a close but the circular riff will stay in your head long in to the night. Oddly, second track ‘She Wants Me Dead’ has a more Mancunian attitude to it with its swirling organs and distorted vocals but that’s no bad thing. There’s a defiant stomp to Wobbly Lamps that is hard to resist once it gets under your skin. Final track (and the lone B-side) ‘Alice The Goon 2’ is great for two reasons; 1) It is pure Mark E Smith and 2) It is named after one of my favourite cartoon characters, the indescribably ugly yet universally adored member of Popeye’s entourage that seemed to exist purely to make Olive Oil seem in some way attractive.
Like I said, its strange how a trip to the kitchen can change your mind about a band. To further the experiment, I tried going to the toilet after listening to Olly Murs but when I came back he was still shit. Go figure.
The single is limited to 250 7” pressings but is available at Rough Trade, Norman Records and by mail order from: http://polyvinylcraftsmen.blogspot.co.uk/