Album Reviews

Archie Bronson Outfit – Derdang Derdang

(Domino) UK release date: 13 March 2006

Archie Bronson Outfit - Derdang Derdang Derdang Derdang is Archie Bronson Outfit‘s follow up to 2004’s little known but well received debut, Fur. It’s a journey through the West Country trio’s brand of infectious bluesy garage rock and evocative of a head on collision between The Kills and the Arcade Fire.

The first single pressed off Derdang Derdang was the demonic – though frankly brilliant – Dart For My Sweetheart. Its strong, lo-fi vigour is a perfect example of what this record is all about; infusing a dark garage rock musical skeleton with addictive and memorable pop hooks – more hooks than a gang of pirates having a fishing contest.

Add to this the blissfully miserable vocals of Sam, who sounds a dead ringer for Win Butler of the aforementioned Arcade Fire, and the mix is nigh on irresistible. Both lyrically and melodically he is brutally original.”Pick a casket for me honey / It would be good to have your tongue,” he muses on Kink, whilst on Dart For My Sweetheart he moans: “Eight. Lose your hate, it’s a game / Come on love me, it’s your fate.” His engaging style is vital to the distinct sound that Archie Bronson Outfit present.

The first five songs are one long highlight, with the fantastic Kink -built around a mesmerising guitar riff – and the haunting Dart For My Sweetheart as its centrepiece. By the end of the difficult and below par Modern Lovers, however, it is clear that a dose of variety is necessary. That dose is provided by Cuckoo, which tames the Archie Bronson beast somewhat (however temporarily) and refreshes the musical palate, featuring charming acoustic guitar and subtle backing vocals. After that Derdang Derdang returns to its natural feral self and continues in the same vein as before.

The production and engineering of Jacquire King (Black Lab, Saint James Infirmary) is noteworthy. He transforms guitars into visceral, biting bastards, demanding attention against a backdrop of a never-strong rhythm section. That musical cliché that sometimes less is more couldn’t be more apt for Derdang Derdang. The album concludes with Harp For My Sweetheart, a beautiful acoustic rendition of the ferocious Dart For My Sweetheart. It’s a perfect, endearing conclusion to the album.

Derdang Derdang is steeped in deeply American rootsy blues music. It sounds as much an American export as a nice juicy burger. That it is born from a band whose roots lie in the West Country almost makes it more remarkable. Something tells me Derdang Derdang won’t get the attention it deserves, but, if I was President – sorry, Prime Minister – then Archie Bronson Outfit would be the new kings of rock ‘n’ roll.

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Archie Bronson Outfit – Derdang Derdang