the mike davies column june 2018


Temporarily putting & The Howlers on the backburner, HARRY JORDAN takes a debut solo credit with the self-released Holy Water. It’s still rockabilly, but of the variety served up by the likes of The Cramps and Nick Cave, a dirty blues groove delivered with a sleaze-soaked growl backed by a sparse guitar riff, bare bones drum rhythm and swirling organ that slouches along like a voodoo priest seeking out souls. “I’m the devil’s daughter”, she sings. She sounds it too.


I don’t know why I’ve managed to remain oblivious to Birmingham outfit GHOSTS OF DEAD AIRPLANES, a three-piece lining up as guitarist Greg, bassist Jonny and drummer Ben with their name presumably taken from the not quite spelled the same number by Prolapse, but I’ve caught up with their fifth release, six-track mini-album The Deritend Book of the Dead (Do Yourself In Records). Released as a comic book with a Bandcamp download code , it loosely slots into the post-punk collective pigeonhole, by which I mean it has ragged abrasive riffs, squally guitar noise, in your face vocals and fractured rhythmic structures, but is also never too far away from a nagging melody line. Wire, PiL, Pixies, Pulp and My Bloody Valentine, along with, obviously, Prolapse all offer convenient reference points

Soft Skills is driven by a persistent bludgeoning drum pattern, throaty bass and noisy guitar flurries runs over which Greg delivers the staccato vocals while Time To Be Alive has a more conventional line with a cascade of chords and catchy hooks that might, in another reality, be termed pop. Eleveneightfour adopts a similar tumbling and circling melody structure with shades of folk burrowing up from the undergrowth in the chorus and vocal lines. The Book of the Dead has, as you might image, more of a drone feel with nervy guitar and drum storms and pulses as the trio whip up a swirling cyclone of intense urgency. More crashing drums and guitar riffs visiting from the hard metal field dominate the racing mutant glam stomp of Radequate with its lyrical references to Apocalypse Now. the EP ending on the electronic crackle intro and bass hook propulsion of Space Don’t Need Another Cowboy, taking a somewhat different and rather glorious musical tack with vocal hints of Bowie and Cocker that was clearly born to lead a mass revolution singalong at some festival or other. Derivative and innovative in equal measure, their flight path deserves a far wider setting. 2020