|Urban Dogs – ‘Attack’ (T&M Records)|
|Written by Dom Daley|
|Thursday, 08 December 2016 06:00|
If having the letter Z album by the Subs and a new Vibrators album in the mix wasn't enough, these rockers decided it was time to send out the call to Matthew Best (Psychic TV) that now was the time for Urban Dogs to reconvene and lay down what is otherwise known as 'Attack'. And boy is this a walk on the wild side and nothing more than a blindingly good record chockablock cram packed full of harmonica honking rock and roll.
Laid down at Pat Collier’s place back in May, this wasn't even on my radar as far as album releases go and boy, it's just about put the tin hat on 2016 as far as new records goes. Amazing - that's what it is nothing short of amazing! There I've said it, pfew!
Proceedings are kicked off with a rousing opener that goes by the name ' Dancing On The Heads Of Snakes'. Sung by the effervescent Mr Harper this has energy, melody and a bloody stonking rhythm and some really exquisite guitar solos that are subtle and work with the song to pull together a most excellent opener. Sure - as you'd expect Charlie sings a few - as do Alvin and Knox - but they don't just sing their own songs (well, not all the time anyway) 'The Little Song' is an easy going romp with a great chiming hook but it's track three that has got me all excited.
Now, it’s no secret that I regard Mr Alvin Gibbs as one of the finest bass players he has style and substance and knows when to lay it down and when to ease back, which is something of the holy grail for many, many musicians who just don't get it! Well whatever "It" is, Gibbs has it in spades. 'Sidewalk Baby' is a blast. Aggressive in all the right places it is a toe tapper with a sharp edge quite sublime to be fair and the keys on the chorus smooth over some of the angry edges (as do those ooh -oo's) for what is a mighty fine slab of rock and roll.
Charlie gets the gob iron out on 'Pawn Shop Special' for some good time rhythm and blues. Truly exceptional and something he doesn't include enough of in my humble opinion. Knox adds some synths on the robotic 'We Are Machine'. One thing you get from the first half of this record is there is variety whilst they do manage to retain a really great flowing cohesive record. They even manage to out Alice The Cooper with the spooktacular 'Trick Or Treat' complete with screams and haunting children's voices. A really groovy psychedelic slab of garage rock and roll.
'Goddamn Liar' is a laid back stab at politicians and the falsities and deceit they peddle without recourse. Alvin nails it in attitude, style and delivery. for a second I thought we might be heading off into soft cell territory before the guitars - Bass and drums kicked in on the hypnotic 'Storm Over Golgotha Tonight'. I guess if you're gonna cover a classic it might as well be a rocked up take on the thunders classic and iconic 'You Can't Put You're Arms Around A Memory'. I remember Alvin's former band Cheap And Nasty used to play this in a similar vein: I loved it then and there is no reason at all not to love this version, complete with swirling organ that certainly adds to proceedings. A fantastic version of a fantastic song that will pick up many admirers.
Knox has a blast on the jolting 'World's End Apocalypso' before the second and final cover turns up in the shape of The Monkees classic '(I'm Not You're) Stepping Stone'. Charlie snarls and sings this rather tasty version and from the breakdown when you get the full force of MR Gibbs bass rumble again; these Urban Dogs deliver the goods. Then to close the damn thing off there's the bittersweet 'Whisky Song' that pounds out the floor tom rhythm as the guitars shimmer and Charlie sings (sure I said sings) its out there folks and not a bad way to close what is nothing short of a stunning record no two ways about it.
My advice would be to pick it up on vinyl, CD or tape and revel in this very special piece of work. It deserves to be championed as it has some of the year’s finest songs and has plenty of bark for the punks and bite for those looking for something beyond. 'Attack' is an exceptional LP in fact it's the dogs’ danglies! not at all ruff and you'd be barking mad not to treat yourself this Christmas (sorry for the canine puns but sometimes it’s hard not to accept a tap in). Just buy it!