Eighties Matchbox Bline Disaster - Blood And Fire

TC 04/06/2010

Rating: 3.5/5

It's been almost six years since their last album and, with a new guitarist on board, the Brighton Gothabillies are ready to rant and roll again with album number three. Despite the time gap, it's pretty much business as usual for the quintet, led by madcap Guy McKnight. The influences remains that of third-generation punk, with clear hints of The Cramps, The Damned, The Dead Kennedys and Killing Joke en route, yet right here right now it offers something of a glimmering curiosity amongst the mass of contemporary copycats.

Kicking off with recent single “Love Turns To Hate” with trademark muffled mayhem, yet an alluring commercialism to it that hints at Tenpole Tudor in fill flight. The frenzy continues pretty much throughout, with “Mission From God” providing a more sinister edge. The drum pounding is a constant force, shafting the songs forward with McKnight's tempestuous vocals desperately trying to keep pace. “Monsieur Cutts” has perhaps more instrumental depth, again with a manic stampede of drums to carry it through. This beat occasionally hints at rockabilly, particularly on “Homemade” but the core attraction is the controlled bedlam, with “Man For All Seasons” throwing up the archetypal Eighties Matchbox sound, which tangles between pandemonium and pantomime.

So there's nothing here that the band hasn't done before and so draws automatic comparison to their excellent debut “Hörse of the Dög” and, it has to be said, ”Blood And Fire” doesn't quite hit those heady heights. Back then, in 2002, part of the band's appeal was that they didn't conform to anything and it's that same non-compliance here that sets it aside and makes for, not only intriguing and entertaining, but somehow essential listening in 2010.

Release date: 19/05/10