Album Reviews

The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club – The Victorian English Gentleman’s Club

(Fantastic Plastic) UK release date: 28 August 2006

The Victorian English Gentleman's Club - The Victorian English Gentleman's Club The many joys of being a Victorian English Gentleman are almost too many to mention. You get to wear a monocle and a large hat, and reap the rewards of sending some children to work up chimneys. Who knows, you might even bag yourself a starring role in one of Dickens’ novels.

These days you try shoving your kids up a chimney for an honest days pay and at best you’d be considered eccentric, and at worst, you end up in the dock. Things just aren’t what they were.

Eccentric is a far more apt description when it comes to describing this particular band, although whether The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club have been directly implicated in any kind of chim-chiminey-cherooing is at present unconfirmed.

This is an album that revels in being completely unhinged, and for the listener its an absolute joy. Art rock is a term bandied about by quite a few people to describe bands that are by and large made unlistenable due to barrages of poorly recorded noise. Occasionally, it’s a term applied to a band that makes pointy little ditties that seem so odd and yet so catchy that there’s no way they’d be allowed to be called pop tunes.

It’s here that we find The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club. There are times throughout the album when you could name hundreds of bands that sound a little similar to some of the things that are going on during these songs. Stupid as Wood has guitars that chime like those of Dead Kennedys, and every song sounds like it might be sung be Ed Tudor Pole.

There’s also several moments where you think that Pixies have taken over at the controls for a moment but our favourite moments come when they evoke the spirit of the largely ignored Tiger on songs such as Amateur Man, and the truly raucous hoe-down of Ban The Gin.

While there may be many moments where you’re searching your brain to figure out exactly what that freakishly catchy chorus comes from, as far as this album is concerned the band create a sound that is entirely its own. This largely shaped by the contrasts in vocal styles. The proto-punk yelp of Adam Taylor is perfectly complimented by Louise Mason and Emma Daman. When they belt out their skewed lyrics over these deliberately jerky pop nuggets, something special starts to radiate from your speakers.

This is a band that creates songs that are both wilfully difficult to grasp and yet are easy to fall in love with. It’s this paradox that makes this band so exciting and will surely see you hopping onto your penny farthing and heading off to the local record emporium so that you may grace your gramophone with this quirky little piece of magic.

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The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club – The Victorian English Gentleman’s Club