Sunday, 13 October 2013

Jazzateers – Rough 46 (Creeping Bent)

4 stars

When the decidedly non-jazz based Jazzateers reformed to play a double bill with Vic Godard reviving his 1980s swing-based set at Glasgow International (yes) Jazz Festival earlier this year, it shed some light on one of the great missing links of the original Sound of Young Scotland based around Alan Horne's Postcard Records. This re-release of the band's eponymous 1983 album, which originally appeared on what was becoming an increasingly pop-based Rough Trade about to unleash the Smiths into the world, is even more overdue.

The line-up that appears here features guitarist Ian Burgoyne, bassist Keith Band and drummer Colin Auld, who founded the band in 1980 with vocalist Alison Gourley, before future Bourgie Bourgie crooner Paul Quinn took over. Main singer here, however, in the band's third incarnation, is Grahame Skinner, who would go on to front glossy white soul combo, Hipsway at a time when every designer lager TV ad under the sun was being sound-tracked by Scottish bands.

Contrary to their jangular roots, then, from the opening sounds of a match striking, this incarnation of Jazzateers are hanging tough. If Rough Trade boss Geoff Travis was as miffed as reported by the move away from indie-pop, one wonders whether his former signings were at the back of his mind when he signed The Strokes, because this is pretty much what sneering, snot-nosed opener 'Nothing At All' sounds like a template of.

The CBGBisms continue on 'Looking For A Girl,' before a few moments of pure Postcard archness creep in on 'Show Me The Door' by way of the country twang of 'Heartbeat' and the the not-quite-Chic of Once More With Feeling. Not that there's anything that sounds remotely naïve here. There's rock and roll swagger and sass aplenty on 'Texan' by way of the Bowieesque 'First Blood' and the rockabilly styled 'Baby That's A No No.' The only truly contrary moment comes on the closing
slicked-back drawl of 'Something To Prove,' because, as everything before it confirms, Jazzateers had already done that in spades.

The List, October 2013


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