|The Courtesy Group – ‘Tradesman’s Entrance’ (Ma Doocey)|
|Written by Nev Brooks|
|Friday, 08 January 2010 17:49|
As my first album review for Über Röck, I honestly thought that when I first picked up this rather wonderfully named album from Birmingham's The Courtesy Group, it was some sort of cruel wind up from URHQ...I mean who names their album after...well the old man whistling...eh?
Well, Al Hutchins that's who, the brainchild of this fourteen-track journey through eccentric English pop not the like of heard since the weekly charts were pestered by bands like The Blockheads, XTC, John Cooper Clarke and The Fall.
When I first unleashed 'Tradesman's Entrance' on my household my first thoughts were someone's been listening to Iggy here, with even a little hint of Jello Biafra by the time you hit the Beefheart enthused post punk pirate ditty 'Bups For Every (Loud Chicken)'. The rest of the album tends to follow the formula of driving bass line, over which the contents of Al Hutchins' Aldi lyric bag fall like musical leaves from his tree of life, one that obviously been hit by lightning more than once, and still survived.
'Tradesman's Entrance' certainly owes a lot to that golden late Seventies/early Eighties era I mentioned earlier when you were free to pretty much be a band without the worry of ever really having to sell anything as the music always came first. Hinting at everything from The Damned to Bauhaus taking in the Birthday Party and even New Model Army, from my musical evolution today's Generation X'ers will no doubt be hearing a bit of Arctic Monkeys or maybe even Damon Albarn in the band's heady mix, that intrinsically still sounds original and refreshing.
So wearing its influences on its sleeve (which is not necessarily a bad thing) 'Tradesman's Entrance' is certainly not an easy listen, but then again neither were P.I.L or Tom Waits at their peaks. This album is most definitely worth a go if you like your music to challenge your perceptions and stand out tracks for me are 'Less Old Air' and the album's rather exquisite opener 'Questret'.
It's just great to hear to a band making British pop music great again, oh and naming their album after the good old arsehole....