Their band name’s more of a mouthful than any other collective in circulation but to the uninitiated The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster‘s music is yet harder to swallow.
They play bluesy, punky, garage rock with a demonic lustiness, revelling in tales and traumas guaranteed to turn your stomach. You’ve heard of car crash TV – this Brighton band bring car crash music to the airwaves; you almost think you shouldn’t, yet can’t stop listening, revelling in their garishly stylish apocalyptic world.
They’re masters of the artfully discordant; thrashes of noise pounding relentlessly through the record, with singer Guy McKnight melodramatically whooping through devilish lyrics with an abundance of knowing nastiness.
This however, is what we have come to expect of the seaside quintet, who shocked in 2002 with a debut album that clocked in at just 26 minutes but felt a nightmarish eternity.
First track Rise Of The Eagles – released earlier this month – sets the scene. “I wanna rise like an eagle, I wanna sing like Sinatra, I got a date with destruction” trills McKnight in his trademark baritone; the late, great rat pack crooner Frank must be turning in his grave…
It leads on to I Could Be An Angle, yet another single release where McKnight’s delivery sounds just a tad like a brutal Vic Reeve’s ‘Club Singer’. Honestly.
Puppy Dog Snails takes a popular children’s nursery rhyme and embellishes it, revealing McKnight and cohorts as the deliciously nasty pieces of work you suspected they were. “What do we do with a boy like you? We put him in a pot and throw him on the fire!” coos McKnight to a toe-tappingly jangly accompaniment, while even Sigmund himself would struggle to analyse the goings-on in Freud’s Black Muck.
Blasting guitar rhythms shape the epic The Way Of The Men Of The Stuff and a frenzied I Rejection, making this a high-adrenaline rush of an album, respite coming only in the form of the (relatively) more restrained Temple Music.
The new sound is sharper, and less rambling than on debut Horse Of The Dog; much of this may be down to producer Chris Goss, whose previous credits include Queens Of The Stone Age.
Royal Society may not be to everyone’s taste – it’s noisy, nasty and narcissistic – but it’s a mouth-watering morsel of British rock.