So, how good is it when the Bastards put out a new release? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about…and of more immediate concern to me – how the hell do you even begin to review the indescribable brilliance that is the Filthy Thieving’ Bastards? Well let’s see…
Filthy Thieving’ Bastards began as a Swingin’ Utters side-project almost 10 years ago, which by all measures of that term make it a little more than a side-project methinks. They combine incredibly cheery and cheeky melodies with punk attitude (and sometimes sound), over the top of whatever country/folk/bluegrass type of sounds takes their fancy for that particular track and then wrap the whole thing up in an overall rockabilly type of…I dunno…general aural pleasure. And they do all of that FAR KING WELL. You just cannae but enjoy it!
I’ve been listening to the Bastards for a couple of years I guess, so I’m a relative newbie to it all but I will say this, the initial EP and 2 follow-up albums kick some serious arse, so you should go get them if you don’t own them already. I can categorically state that if you aren’t a fan right now it’s either because you haven’t heard them or you are a tasteless d*ckhead.
As for my thoughts on “I’m a Son of a Gun” released March 2007…well I have to start with a statement of admiration. What would I do if I had what was already a perfect punk/folk/country band that I it was going to be extremely tough to improve on? I’d go get one of the Pogues to come and guest-star on it, and this is precisely the case on the album’s opener – Phony Drunken Poet which features Spider Stacy on whistle. It’s a great tune with a catchy chorus, “Lend me this month’s rent, My Dad just bought a round, You’ll get your money just before I leave this town…” Great example of the Bastards at their finest, very clever little song, slightly understated but at the same time rocks out just the right amount.
Overall the album is a really solid effort with a bunch of standout tracks over and above the opener mentioned above. Will appeal to those who are already a fan, and would be a reasonable introduction to any newcomers, although I’d probably recommend “My Pappy Was a Pistol” or “A Melody or Retreads and Broken Quills” over this one to a total newbie. A quick whip-through of the highlights as follows:
When the Wallflowers Wilt – great little guitar melody on this one, a track about being upbeat about being down and out. Catchy chorus again.
Dusty Roads –dirty little country guitar sound on this one, I absolutely dig it when the Bastards do country in their unique, gruff style. Great lyrics with lines like: “Sometimes it seems I’m on some sadistic crusade just to get wasted, ripped off, tired and underpaid”. Also uses a great phrase that could be used to describe the band themselves: “hardcore troubadours”
Santa Maria – a slightly more straight ahead song with a touch of grungy surf guitar.
Bring Me Back – This one just has to make you smile with a happy-go-lucky bass line, dirty guitar melody following the vocals and swift acoustic rhythm guitar. “Bring me back to the happy times…”
Down Every Day – A modern sea shanty, dark enough, and so well done.
Dumb Dead Goats – This is probably my second favourite off the album after the opener. It got me on the first listen – great chorus: “Hey, is anybody even listening? Cuz Dixie ain’t the only thing I’m whistling’”. And I love the line: “The high horse you rode on in is as stubborn as a mule”. Upbeat, buoyant track.
When We Were Kids – This is probably the heaviest song on the album, and probably wouldn’t be too far away from home if it were found on an Utter$ album. Great track.
Last of the Big Spenders – understated track to finish the album out, good feel to it. Good political messages in it too…I can relate to the “I’m the last of the big spenders with money from a lender” – that’s for sure. Beaut little slide guitar action here too.
So in closing, another fine instalment of Filthy Thieving’ Bastards gems…they’ve lost nothing with time! Still putting the spunk into punk, giving folk a stoke, and driving the c*nt back into country music, choice! Gotta love these hardcore troubadours.
Review: Alex Dean