Dirty Water Records

Taking Music Backwards Into Tomorrow

Rock and Reel: The Wildebeests "The Gnus of Gnavarone"

The demise last spring of London's premier garage-punk bolthole, the Dirty Water Club, was an unexpected loss.  However, its sister label has thankfully gone from strength to strength with a series of authentically grimy releases, and this newie from the Wildebeests is no exception.

A supergroup of sorts, the Edinburgh-based band calls upon the joint forces of The Kaisers' John Gibbs, Lenny Helsing of The Thanes and Russ Wilkins, ex-Milkshakes and currently trading as Lord Rochester.  Together they cook up one hell of a stew, licked into shape on the occasion by legandary Spanish producer Jorge Explosion.

Rippling with analogue reverb, The Gnus of Gnavarone (great title) consists mainly of original songsbut is effectively a sonic travelogue of some of the best garage and r'n'b licks from 1964 onwards, taking in The Small Faces, The Downliners Sect, The Pretty Things, freakbeat, B-movie horror and, on "One Minute's Time", The Just Brothers' much sampled Northern Soul floor-filler "Sliced Tomatoes".  Rather than maintaining the pace throughout, they just keep turning up the gas the further they go, while a fiery rehash of Wimple Winch's classic "Save My Soul" is just gravy.

Gerry Ranson

Dirty Water Records London