Released in 2014, The Mobbs’ last album Garage Punk For Boys has remained one of the most played, enjoyed, and recommended treats over the past two years with us. Now the UK trio are back with its successor and another irresistible festival of their unique yet deceptively familiar sound to not replace but certainly stand alongside their last triumph.
Piffle! sees the Northampton bred gentlemen embrace their garage rock/beat side without losing the punk ‘n’ roll devilry which injects glorious mayhem and mischief to all their releases. Garage Punk For Boys was a joyous garage punk brawl to get firmly involved in; its successor is a calmer yet feverishly boisterous romp and whereas the last album was an instantly virulent addiction Piffle! is a real grower, in time reaching the same tempting heights.
The band was named in homage to local hero Edgar Mobbs, the captain of Northampton Saints RFC from 1907–13, who also played and captained England at cricket, and set about raising his own company to fight in WWI for which within 48 hours more than 400 men had volunteered, with Mobbs himself as a private. Rising through the ranks to command the 7th Northamptonshire Regiment (known as ‘The Mobbs Own’), Edgar was wounded three times, was twice mentioned in dispatches and received the DSO in January 1917, and died leading a charge on a machine gun position on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele. It is a story we had not realised before now and only adds to the English gentlemen air of the band and resembles the defiant attitude of their individual sound and aggressive enterprise.
Since forming the trio has rocked and rumbled across three previous albums, a 7” single, and a 7” EP, all increasing one by one the reputation and stature of the band within the British garage scene. Maybe more than any, the Dirty Water Records released Piffle! has an air of being the breakthrough opportunity for the band, its songs tenacious fusions of fifties rock ‘n’ roll and sixties garage rock with as expected a healthy flavouring of seventies punk.
The fourteen track romp opens up with Mojo Degradation and instantly gets down to working on ears, feet, and hips. A tasty blend of garage rock and punk, the song snags the appetite with waves of choppy riffs and rousing rhythms, the guitar and vocals of Joe B. Humbled a devilish incitement for quick involvement of the listener as the bass of The Bishop throbs and Cheadle’s beats eagerly rap the senses. It is a storming start replicated in the following fiery stroll of The Smoke not the Fire. With a touch of Jagger and Co to its acidic scythes of guitar the track prowls sharing an instinctive challenging attitude which superbly mellows out from time to time into melodic seducing.
The band’s previous album prompted a suggestion from us that their sound was like a fusion of The Rockin’ Vickers meets the Leyton Buzzards, for Piffle! they hint more at a mix of Blues Magoos meeting The Piranhas with The Chocolate Watch Band hanging around for extra flavour, certainly over the next pair of tracks, though ultimately what comes out of the speakers is something which solely belongs to The Mobbs.
Taste the Truth is a song which swings and swerves like an exotic dancer, all rhythmic hips and twisting grooves while next up No Sympathy is like a sinister lurker, stalking the senses before revealing its sonic booty and sharing a highly enjoyable slice of inhibition losing naughtiness. Both tracks leave a satisfaction most bands can only find in hope before they get eclipsed by the dirty pleasures of the album’s title track, a raw bite of punk ‘n’ roll as irritable as it is seductive.
There is a raw hue of The Seeds to next up Insult to Intellect, the track a shuffle of muscular beats and groaning basslines entangled in spicy strands of guitar as Joe growls through his eye catching moustache in his ever distinctive way. Like the album, it takes more time than other propositions to reach its full persuasion but get there it does before the swifter enslavement of I’m Estranged leaps on ears and pleasure. As the concussive beats of Cheadle thump, The Bishops’ bass throbs like an aural hard on, sharing its lustful resonance as spiky melodies jump.
The Mobbs rarely venture past the three minute mark but the next pair of tracks are almost epics in their timing. Matador is first offering four sultry ridiculously addictive minutes of instrumental glory. With a mouth-watering hook which could enhance any sixties TV thriller/sci-fi show, the track joins the growing list of instrumental treats the band has shared across their releases, its sweltering Latin honed melodic liquor an additional heady colour in the song before Little Miss Hard of Hearing saunters in with its fifties rock ‘n’ roll friskiness.
Both songs are particular highlights of Piffle!, quickly being joined by Violets Are Blue with its raunchy riffs and piquant melodies and the swinging rockabilly/Thee Headcoats flavoured Annie May. To be fair it is hard to pick out one song over another though Not a Sausage is one thoughts slip back to more often than not if trying to make a decision. A closer relation to infectious successes of the band’s last album than many tracks within Piffle!, the song simply incites a lusty reaction each and every time.
The album is closed off by the crunchy beefy rock ‘n’ roll of G-Type, another appetite pleasing instrumental and finally the excellent Grub Before Punch, a slice of punk ‘n’ roll rascality which has body and soul hooked within its first hungry handful of seconds.
Piffle! is quite outstanding, another treat for fans of The Mobbs and a highly attractive doorway into their garage knavery for newcomers. It has also already provided another long term participant in our own weekly if not daily playlists and maybe that more than words will persuade you to get down and playful with The Mobbs.
Pete RingMaster 14/10/2016
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