the bordellos

There’s a disappointing common consensus that people just don’t get the Bordellos, I know through frequent mail exchanges with head Bordello Brian Shea that there’s a frustration tamed by resignation that somehow whether by the cruel hand of fate or simply being so often as not (as is the case) so ahead of the curve that musical fashion (in whatever shape or form it passes for today) is still playing catch up. But then consider this, was it not the Velvets who famously struggled to ignite record sales during their brief tenure and who in some small part due to Bowie’s patronage and punks embracing because over the years something lasting and outweighing mere cultdom. I’m fairly certain that had Mr Peel been alive today, the Bordellos would surely be the Kath’s Karavan house band where the Fall or the Weddoes indisposed. As with all the main players to have smitten the DJ over the years the influences that stir the Bordellos are not immediately apparent, like the Fall and the Smiths before them, the bordellos operate in a vacuum, perhaps rather more a parallel continuum where the musical presets ushered  forth are skewed, for they are not quite the sore thumbs but rather more a collective hive mind viewing the pop landscape by means of slightly twiddled off radar visor. Furthermore its not through blind admiration or simple merit that Fruits de Mer’s recent Strange Fish was upon its extensive grooves blessed with an almost casual Bordellos cut that in our humbled opinion along with tracks by Earthling Society and dead pylons proved to be one of the collections finest moments. These days it’d be fair to say that the Bordellos now occupy the vacant space left by a youthful Of Arrowe Hill, add to this a curious fascination for Sonic Youth especially the era after signing to Geffen where you suspected they were deliberately unravelling in order to see how hard they could hit the buttons of the horrified suited and booted executives (evidence of such is provided on the discordant shakedown of the ‘goo’-esque ‘nurse, the screens!’). In fact the Bordellos operate exactly at that defiantly underground / independent axis to which Mr Moore so obviously revels and obsesses about. Oh and add in the aforementioned Velvets (not least on the smoked listless primal psych blues prowl of the weird n’ freakish ‘fruitcakes and fruit collars’ ushered in a shadow lined disturbia), the Teardrops – as in Explodes, Daniel Johnston and Half Japanese and you get yourself a broad stroke introduction to maybe one alternating side of the Bordellos melodic matrix. And so to ‘Ronco Revival Sound’ – the first of two or is it three releases that should see there way to securing the Bordellos claim to being psyche’s best kept secret. Limited to just 100 physical CD copies and available as an unlimited download via the highly impressive Daddy Tank imprint (CD’s by Dissolved and  the Anti Hero have been variously hogging the turntable since arriving here) ‘Ronco Revival Sound’ is a love note to pop music, through memories, fashions and legend, an intimate insider peak at an aural picture book kept through the years by head Bordello Brian, the melodies that sound track this reflectively stained account are bent out of shape, warped and blessed with a skewed out of focus positioning. Here you’ll find pure Terrascopic treats aplenty with the set opening to the smoking cool lo-fi lounge lizard-esque title track replete with whirring motifs and a prowling garage beat bark that subtly shimmers as though the after hours by shadows work of a certain Joe Meek (equally Meek-esque is ‘a man who you’ve never seen’ is set to chill fashioned out as though the pale rider doubling up as a nightly ghost rider). Skewed and crooked ‘another song named Deborah’ (which casual observers of these musings may well indeed recall us commenting on way back at the start of the year when said cut got leaked to us hot off the presses) is dedicated in honour of ‘the mystic icon’. Songs about Deborah are as much a part of pop’s rich tapestry as say ‘my way’ or ‘yesterday’, here draped in the kind of lazy eyed lysergia that would make even a pre glammed out Bolan blush with admiration. Those who pine for your Nuggets styled raw around the edges scowling detuned beat pop ought to hook up to the wiring art pop gouged banana splits meets ‘grotesque’ era Fall freak out that is ‘kinky dee’ – while your there you might want to hold onto your hats for the wig flipped bitched out blues scowl ‘tattoo heart’. Fondness piques for the mellowing introspective drag that pervades throughout ‘who’s to blame’ which I must admit had us scurrying to rummage through old cassettes to root out our prized copy of Freed Unit’s much under appreciated ‘gigglegoo’ (alas unfound as I write – in case your keeping notes of such things). Somewhere else the ghostly chamber psyche of the spiralling spell weaving ‘sun storm’ digs deep in to sub strata of a smoked and wasted Doors back catalogue which along with the pursuing ‘weird k’ prove to be repeat play button hitting show stoppers not least because the latter mentioned is kissed with some nifty harmonicas and a seriously warped lo-fi lilt much recalling the much missed Southall Riot. Best of the set is left to the parting ‘temperature drop’ and finds the Shea’s stepping up to the plate in truly majestic fashion, all at once humbled, bruised and out on a limb, this desperately sorrowed minimalist hymn traces its bloodline back to the grooves of Teardrop Explodes finest hour ‘Wilder’. magnificently hollowed and yet arrested in the kind of exquisitely hushed head bowed detailing that leaves you numbed, jaw dropped and pressed close – a class apart and with that scarcely a dry eye in the house. ‘ronco revival sound’ – a late entry for your end of year best album considerations perhaps one things for certain you’ll struggle to trip over an album so brutally naked in its vulnerability, openness and defiance in kowtowing to the great pop script.

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