Dirty Water Records

Taking Music Backwards Into Tomorrow

Louder Than War: Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons "Dirty Rock'n'Roll"

Stunning second album from Basingstoke Punk-Rockabilly-Grunge-Glam rockers Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons. Ged Babey is feelin(e) dirty … sorry…

First off. This is a magnificent, homegrown UK punk rock’n’roll album. Beg, borrow, steal or buy it. Hear it at least and check them out live, that’s all that needs to be said really the rest is just hyperbole and waffle, which some people find off-putting.

Three Things that Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons are NOT;

1/. A psychobilly band. Nuffin wrong with psychobillies, but there’s more to this band than just the splatter-movie horror of Demented Are Go and the dunka-dunka-dunka rhythmic stylings of the Meteors, although both are present in moderation

2/. A sleazy rock’n’roll band; Y’know the type. Female singer with a penchant for exposing as much flesh as possible and playing the part of hungry wanton hussy onstage. Pussycat is more influenced by bands like L7 and Dickless, women who like kicking ass rather than waggling ass. The dirty in bands name refers to a pair of scuffed-up, muddy Johnsons brothel-creepers rather than any pervyness in the family Johnson. (Then again there is a song called Hell-Bent For Leather…)

3/. A Cramps rip-off. There will never be another Cramps because they were one-offs…. may Lux Interiors Rockin’ Bones Rest In Peace. The Cramps can never be replaced but Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons do go part of the way to having that same kind of insane devotion to rock’n’roll, energetic performance, a trash aesthetic and raw classicism. .

puss johnson1Lead-singer and stage prowler Puss has hair sculpted into cats ears, pvc catsuit or leopard print gear, great big boots. She looks as cool as fuck. OK, she takes inspiration from Eartha Kitts Catwoman, Poison Ivy and ’77 punkette Soo Catwoman, but in 2013, there is simply no-one else who looks like Puss. She stops traffic. She has such style she just had to be the singer in wildest rock’n’roll band in the county.

Guitarist Big Jake, is a greaser, built like a monstertruck, all dressed-up like an Elvis from Hell. Filthy Ants the drummer looks like a 70’s all-in wrestler with Shirley Temple curls and a Mexican tache. They have the kinda looks you used to see on Wanted posters with If Seen -Do Not Approach This Man warnings on.

They did have a bass-player but he’s disappeared; worryingly the first song is called (I didn’t think anyone could see me when I was…) Burying the Bodies!

At their most raging P&TDJ’s sound like the Slits had they chosen rockabilly over reggae as their musical firstlove. They mix up the faster end of grunge (aforementioned L7, Dickless, Babes in Toyland) the Bolan Boogie, the dynamics of hardcore punk & the pop side of punk-metal (the Runaways) in with the trashy intense but cartoonish stew. Their nearest historical rivals are the hysterical Daisy Chainsaw (one hit wonders to some – sheer genius to true believers) and the piledriving, lurching Silverfish.

What I love about Pussycat and Co is the fact that on the one hand they sing about all the usual fantasy splattermovie stuff; shrunken heads, bodies in ditches and bondage, but coming to the surface and at the heart of other songs there is some real underlying pain.


 
“Aint had a job since I lost my mind” Puss sings casually on the semi-autobiographical Livin’ With Mum and Dad, making light of “Living on the Sick”. In a song named after a prescription drug Mirtazapine, the narrator feels “Dead In the Head / swimming in the black sea in my bed”. However it’s “Rocking Out {which} Makes Me Feel Better”.

In Sort Yourself Out the order is given in the first line “Quit spending all your time with scum” and in Dirty Lil Dog, Puss reveals her moral streak.

“I ain’t like that!” she hollers in-song at an accusation of libidinous lack of control. “I aint like that!” Her opinion on the cheap one-night-stand? “It aint a patch on getting down with the same good man” She squeals it twice, with feeling in true evangelical Jon Spencer Blues Explosion style. Hell Yeah!

Her viciousness towards the orange-skinned meat-market city-centre-Saturday night females is telling “ Its you who’s the freaks”.

She is a feminist avenger in a cat-suit, with a fuckin’ tail. Shes’s sexy but androgonous with her boyish figure, and in total control, dominatrix-style, yet a little bit out of her mind.

Best album I’ve heard so far this year.

- Ged Babey

Dirty Water Records London