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.

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Pete RingMaster 27/09/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Filthy Tongues – Back to Hell

Two years ago Scottish band, The Filthy Tongues released a debut album which quite simply blew us away. It was a striking and increasingly haunting incitement of “caliginous flavours and textures.” Such its gothic beauty and immersive intimation we wondered if the trio had already laid down their finest moment and would struggle to match let alone eclipse its majesty again. Oh fool us! The band has just unveiled its successor in Back To Hell, a web of instinctive drama and invasive magnetism which puts its predecessor and pretty much most things this year to date in the shade.

Edinburgh hailing, The Filthy Tongues consists of vocalist/guitarist Martin Metcalfe, bassist Fin Wilson, and drummer Derek Kelly; the three previously members of Goodbye Mr Mackenzie and Angelfish alongside Shirley Manson. After the demise of those bands, all ventured into different projects, musical and not, before Wilson and Metcalfe came together as acoustic duo The Filthy Tongues, named from a phrase from a Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie song. This project subsequently evolved, the three gents back creating together and vocalist Stacey Chavis joining what would become Isobel Gowdie & the Filthy Tongues (to become Isa & the Filthy Tongues). Moving on, the band became three again and The Filthy Tongues with the startling Jacob’s Ladder the irresistible wake-up call to their presence and dark world. That first album was a tapestry of sound and styles; everything from dark rock, garage punk, surf, dark folk and post punk aligned to plenty other rich flavours as the band created almost salacious realms of seductive craft and gothically shadowed deeds. Back To Hell is more of the same yet a whole new landscape of manipulative imagination, riveting sound, and lyrical weaving.

As its predecessor, Back To Hell ventures through the dark claustrophobic underbelly of the Old Town in Edinburgh yet equally it incites the imagination to broaden its landscape and conjuring. It opens up with the addiction sparking Come on Home, a track instantly sharing an electric mist of intrigue and dark suggestion before springing an infection fuelled stroll stalked by the vocal prowess of Metcalfe. Like the sounds, his voice has a dirt clad texture, a gravelly tone which just draws you into the narrative and atmosphere of the developing aural theatre. Keys similarly bring a teasing suggestion to the mix as rhythms and guitars openly simmer. Swiftly hips were swaying to its call, head rocking to its swing and voice aiding the wonderfully tainted harmonies. The band’s new single, it is just superb, that haunting quality in their music already seducing via keys and voice as guitars weave and rhythms coax.

It is an outstanding start reinforced by the senses transfixing tale of The Ghost of Rab McVie. Strings and their electronic counterparts quickly infest the imagination, the first from the suggestive touch and craft of Susannah Clark. Metcalfe is soon within their descriptive midst, voice similarly nurturing thoughts as the song leads the listener into its melancholic heart. There is a beauty to it though which just seduces ears and imagination but with an earthiness keeping the dark surroundings fully in view before the album’s title track provides the gateway into a nefarious journey. Feeling like being trapped in a Celtic Wickerman driven nightmare, the song simultaneously overwhelms, indeed suffocates, and seduces all with increasing intensity. It is quite superb with the craft of Clark simply irresistible.

Mother’s got a Knife follows, its animated shuffle also getting under the skin within the first dance of enterprise before slipping into a smouldering glide; repeating the captivating cycle in swift time. Like a mercurial fusion of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, The Bad Seeds, and Wall Of Voodoo with a Josef K lining, the track was another which seduced and enslaved with ridiculous ease such its masterful imagination and virulent breath.

Next up Leper Town was just as persuasive, its pop infested rock ‘n’ roll reminding of a few  in some small ways but as ever, so unique to The Filthy Tongues as it had body and thoughts bouncing and appetite for their invention greedy. That individuality is never absent from a song as proven once more by Carlos the Jackal, menace and tenebrific elegance soaking its predacious yet infectious prowl while Who are you? is the band’s creative theatre at its most compelling and beguiling. It too has a threat in its air and beauty in its dark drawl; addiction for its creative alchemy once more inescapable.

The album goes out on the mesmeric croon of Take it, a song with a whisper of U2 meets Helldorado about it and a dirty laced grace which just fascinates as layers of sound seduce. It oozes beauty, loneliness, and temptation; a crepuscular radiance of sound and emotion which steals attention from the real world.

It is a glorious end to another extraordinary encounter with The Filthy Tongues. Their Jacob’s Ladder was one of the essential releases two years ago, Back to Hell is THE most vital release of this so far and hard to see being eclipsed too often over the months ahead.

Back to Hell is released May 25th through Neon Tetra / Blokshok Records.

http://www.filthytongues.com/   https://www.facebook.com/The-Filthy-Tongues-144934250476/   https://twitter.com/filthytongues

Pete RingMaster 21/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Filthy Tongues – Jacob’s Ladder

FilthyTongues Press Pic Jan2016_RingMasterReview

Seriously beguiling and theatrically suggestive, Jacob’s Ladder is the highly anticipated debut album from Scottish trio The Filthy Tongues, and a glorious adventure into the dark and magnetic underbelly of the band’s home and imagination. Consisting of eight slices of dark rock ‘n’ roll woven from an evocative tapestry of caliginous flavours and textures, tracks further infused with poetic lyrical drama, the album is an immersion into gothic cloaked and intimately alluring portraits of, in the words of the band, “a dark neo-feudal Edinburgh.”

The Filthy Tongues consists of vocalist/guitarist Martin Metcalfe, bassist Fin Wilson, and drummer Derek Kelly, a threesome who were the core-members of eighties/nineties band Goodbye Mr Mackenzie. The band, which also featured Shirley Manson as keyboardist and backing singer, evolved into Angelfish and recorded a well-received album with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads, whose manager Gary Kurfirst gave a helping hand to the Scottish band. Subsequently Manson was lured to front a new project called Garbage whilst Metcalfe, Wilson, and Kelly became Isa & the Filthy Tongues and released a pair of albums with American-born Stacey Chavis as vocalist. Now the trio have stepped forward as The Filthy Tongues and uncaged a creative incitement which must rank up there with the finest offering to come from their creative minds and talent.

The album opens with its title track and a melancholic caress of strings which soon part for a vibrant stroll of dark bass and nagging riffs around distinctive vocals. A ripple of keys adds to the instant expressive character of the track, backing vocal lures just as potent as the track strolls along with a sinister yet mesmeric swagger. Like a mix of The Monochrome Set and Milton Star with a healthy scent of Nick Cave to it, the opener alone gives Jacob’s Ladder all the bait needed to tempt ears and appetite, whilst setting up an already eager imagination with the lust to delve into what is to come and enslave.

album_RingMasterReviewThe brilliant start continues with the rhythmically tenacious High. As the bass aligns it’s ominous yet invitingly throaty suggestiveness to the anthemic pull of beats, Metcalfe’s tones bring the narrative to pungent life like a lyrical Pied Piper within the post punk seeded and dramatic ambience of the sounds around him. It is gripping, irresistible stuff that demands increasing attention with consummate ease, much as the album and songs surrounding it, including the following Holy Brothers. Rhythms again create a bold canvas for keys and strings to share their provocative and melodic suggestiveness which in turn creates an aural sketch for vocals and words to captivate within. There is a slight feel of Fatima Mansions to that lyrical and indeed emotional prowess cast, a sharing of the descriptive and virulently compelling art of offering the imagination a fully equipped landscape to play with.

Long Time Dead brings a steely edge and attitude to its guitar crafted opening and subsequent body next, providing a dark country spiced proposal bred in the dirty back streets of life whilst Bowhead Saint swings and seduces with a delta blues kissed romancing of the imagination. Both tracks enthral and tantalise from within their individual creative skins and darkly lit hearts before Violent Sorrow shares its intimate and, as throughout the album, lyrically raw croon. Each of the trio leaves a lingering mark in their varied ways, all offering a long term flirtation with the psyche and passions.

A more physically agitated piece of rock ‘n’ roll, Children Of The Filthy keeps enjoyment and excitement as high as ever. Once more rhythms provide the irritable yet anthemic side of the song, vocals the dark scenic persuasion, and melodic and sonic imagination a bewitching poetic majesty which here is surf rock infused. The track is glorious, with Metcalfe vocally continuing to be like a Vaudevillian Poe sharing a dark tale to embrace and be inspired by. Its success is swiftly matched by the sultry exploration of Kingdom Of Ice, a song as enchanting as it is emotionally intimidating. Carrying a sound brewed with volatility, the closer is a firmly arresting proposal with as much suggestive depth and persuasion as the words it merges with, and a superb end to a similarly impressive release.

Jacob’s Ladder is destined to be one of the most acclaimed debuts of 2016, if it can truly be called a first release or simply another proposal in a long term evolution of three artists. More than that though, the record is a blend of fantasy and reality which ignites ears and emotions like a sonic poet; so being destined to emerge as one of the most acclaimed albums of the year might be the better suggestion.

Jacob’s Ladder is out now via Blokshok and available in varied formats and packages @ http://www.filthytongues.com

https://www.facebook.com/Isa-the-Filthy-Tongues-144934250476   https://twitter.com/filthytongues

Pete RingMaster 15/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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