Goodbye Mr MacKenzie – Good Deeds and Dirty Rags

Brandenburg photo by Martin Becker

Maybe like for many others, Goodbye Mr MacKenzie is a band which we did not pay enough attention to back when they were a potent part of a Scottish indie/rock scene lauded for the presence of bands such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Fire Engines, Simple Minds, The Waterboys, The Cocteau Twins and many others. The fair share of acclaim they earned was impossible to miss and a few familiar tracks, and more than we knew we knew it turns out, left a rich vein of pleasure in our personal musical journey. Funnily enough it was not the recent reforming of one of Scotland’s most iconic rock bands which has most strongly drawn us to the upcoming re-reissuing of their seminal album Good Deeds and Dirty Rags but the fact that one of our current favourite bands, The Filthy Tongues, consists of three of Goodbye Mr MacKenzie’s founders; that and the welcome urging of Shauna McLarnon of Canadian duo Ummagma.

Due for release this coming November and inspired by the massive success of their recent 30-year anniversary tour, Good Deeds & Dirty Rags has been re-mastered and comes with 3 additional tracks from those early years not previously included on the original edition. The band’s line-up at the time consisted of vocalist Martin Metcalfe, bassist Fin Wilson, and drummer Derek Kelly, the trio who have inflamed ears and the passions with their two albums as the aforementioned Filthy Tongues. Alongside them was guitarist John Duncan, previously of The Exploited, the future Garbage vocalist Shirley Manson, and Rona Scobie both providing keys and backing vocals. For the rest of the band’s potent history we will let you go search but there will be no finer way to set it off then through Good Deeds and Dirty Rags.

The album opens up with Open Your Arms, a track which swiftly hooks ears with its sweeping breath and magnetic jangle. Metcalfe’s vocals resonate with the expression and character which we are more familiar with within his current creative adventure as melodies, harmonies, and sharp hooks are woven into a slice of indie contagion. There is a Big Country like grandeur to the song at times and a gnarly edge to the bass which just hit a personal appetite, again something since keenly devoured with Wilson’s presence in The Filthy Tongues.

Wake It Up follows bringing a rousing roar to its composed stroll, every aspect fuelling an unapologetic catchiness which easily swept up eager attention. In some ways there is a larger than life hue to the song which reminds of The Associates but whether familiar with or new to the band through the album there is no denying Goodbye Mr Mackenzie had a distinct individuality.

The electronic hug of the especially enthralling His Masters Voice is just a big warm smile upon the ears but another track with a certain rock ‘n’ roll edge to it which erupts with vociferous voice throughout while Goodwill City is a drama soaked slice of anthemic temptation. It is a song set in climatic layers, each small but tenacious crescendo a rich incitement on spirit and involvement with its creative intrigue and emprise. One of their less familiar tracks before this release the song soon proved a firm favourite even as the riveting Candlestick Park swung its own shadow wrapped, melancholically spun seduction upon ears and imagination. The truth is the song easily matches anything on the release, its mesmeric and indeed haunting presence a siren of craft and sound.

The song, Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, is another which simply infests ears and appetite with its melodic audacity and fertile imagination. The earthy threads of guitar perfectly collude with the celestial breeze of keys and sighs of harmonies as marching rhythms firmly leave their galvanic imprint on the senses; another highlight re-introduced to ears before the band’s most famous track, The Rattler shares its masterful indie pop contagion.

Through the infectious creative animation of Dust and the glorious sonic theatre of You Generous Thing grinning pleasure only rises up, both tracks pure adventure for ears and imagination on

Goodbye Mr MacKenzie 2019 – photo by Karen Lamond

both sides of the speakers; both traits a persistent thrill across the release and echoed again within the equally superb Good Deeds. Straight away rhythmically it had us enslaved; Kelly’s agility and lures reminding of King Trigger before the rest of the band bring their own eager inventive exploits to the fascination of sound.

Good Deeds and Dirty Rags is completed by three demo tracks of Open Your Arms, Diamonds, and You Generous Thing; all from 1987 and each their own portion of thick temptation.

Though listening to the album inspires annoyance at not having embraced it well before now, it is a real treat to discover and you know what? It is not out of place or time within the current indie rock scene at all.

Good Deeds and Dirty Rags is released 2nd November via Neon Tetra Records.

https://www.facebook.com/GoodbyeMrMackenzie   https://twitter.com/gbmrmackenzie   http://www.goodbyemrmackenzie.com/

Pete RingMaster 27/09/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Exploding Head Syndrome – Aristocratical Tendencies

If the recent release of the new Cockroach Clan album was not enough proof there is now the new EP from Exploding Head Syndrome to prove that the Norwegian punk scene is in fine fettle. Aristocratical Tendencies unleashes five slices of punk/hardcore incitement which raucously roar with voracious contagiousness.

Aristocratical Tendencies follows the Oslo based band’s acclaimed 2016 album World Crashes Down and comes just after the quintet have returned from a mini-tour covering Norway, Sweden, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Hungary and included playing Europe’s Number One punk festival Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia, sharing stage with NOFX, Pennywise, Frank Turner, Propagandhi, Descendents, Anti-Lam Front and many more. With their live reputation already highly praised and established through their own headlining shows and gigs alongside bands such as Satyricon, Sham69, Honningbarna, The Good Bad and The Zugly and Blood Command, Exploding Head Syndrome only reinforce and push on a similar stature gained through their records with their latest offering.

Shades is first up on the EP, a stroke of guitar igniting a hungry lurch of rhythms and vocal incitement before it all comes together in a virulently voracious trespass of sound. Vocalist Eirik Ekholdt bellows from within the punk eruption, the guitars of Morten Rørvig and Jonas Andreassen casting ferocious yet greedily infectious encouragement around him as all the while rhythms bite and trespass. It is a glorious assault, ripe hooks sprung with keen devilment and sonic threads spun with imposing drama but a song unafraid to go for the jugular.

The following Hardcore Jesus makes a more considered approach, melodic wiring enticing attention as around them a brewing tempest of sound grows. In quick time, the track breaks into a rapacious stroll, the swinging beats of drummer Lars Kirkerud steering its feisty gait as Håvard Jacobsen’s bassline broods. Again it is a feral invitation impossible to ignore and soon resist with its contagion loaded chorus, a hardcore meets hard rock landscape doing nothing to diminish its insistently catchy punk instincts.

I Got Feelings provides two minutes of equally rousing punk confrontation where open irritability colludes with anthemic prowess in a climate of discontent, the result another infectious incursion upon welcoming senses before You Have Your Dreams (I Have My Nightmares) sinks its similarly belligerent and fractious claws into ears and appetite. Once more there is bassline to devour and a creative squall of guitar to swing with, vocals and rhythms only adding to the manipulation as it all heads towards a robust holler.

The EP is closed up by All Change Is Bad, the track springing from the sonic departure of its predecessor with heftily swung beats and an entanglement of wiry guitar enterprise. That alone proves enough to infest body and attitude but with the raw incitement of vocals and the swinging groove of the bass, things only become more insatiable and gripping.

It is a great end to a superb release from a band we only find ourselves becoming more addicted to by the listen.

Aristocratical Tendencies is out now via Big Day Records; available @ https://ehspunx.bandcamp.com/

Upcoming Live Dates:

18.10.19 Oslo Bloodbath X, Oslo

09.11.19 Checkpoint Charlie, Stavanger w/Kåte Klør

15.11.19 Verkstedet Bar, Oslo w/The Nika Riots

http://www.explodingheadsyndrome.net/   https://www.facebook.com/explodingheadsyndrome

https://www.instagram.com/exploding_head_syndrome/

Pete RingMaster 20/09/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright