It’s been a few years since we’ve heard anything new from former Pogue Jamie Clarke (guitar on the much underrated Pogue Mahone). Hell Hath No Fury follows in the Folk-a-billy direction of 2011’s Beat Boys – part Pogues, part Rock-a-billy, party outlaw country in a spaghetti western kind of way. The cover of La Bamba is a must hear. A real solid album.
I’m guessing this is the 5th release by Jamie Clarke’s Perfect that we’ve reviewed here at Castle S’n’O, so you all know the story of Jamie and his membership of The Pogues, replacing the might Philip Chevron and playing on and writing material for the final Pogues studio album, 1986’s, POGUE MAHONE. All the prior Perfect releases have been consistently strong – mixing folk, polka and other Cental and Eastern Eurpean souunds with Irish, punk and Pogues. BEATBOYS, I’d argue is Perfects best release to date, a bigger band, a bigger sound – Punk’n’Irish meets Rock-a-billy and strong Tutonic influence (Jamie is based in German) Highlights include, a great version of THE SUN THE MOON from POGUE MAHONE and Johnny / June Carter Cash inspired JACKSON and folk-a-billyBEATBOYS and pretty much everything on the album.
By my count this is the 4th studio release from the former Pogues guitarist. The German based Perfect have now expanded to a 4 piece and there is a definite noticeable filling out of the sound. Style wise, “You Drove Me To It” is very much similiar to previous Perfect releases – classic British pop/rock meets the Irish-punk of The Pogues on the stage of a German beer hall. The disk is a little heavy on Pogues covers (4 out 14) though I do really like the almost polka Tobi’s Fall (IISFFGWG). ‘Adorable’, a really great original, originally on “Sickly men of 30 or so” has been re-recoded as a sparser more guitar oriented version. Well worth seeking out.
Live CD’s can be either hit or miss in my book as they rarely capture the true energy of a bands live performance – with both the recent live CDs from the Dropkick Murphys and Shane MacGowans Popes veering towards miss in this humble scribes opinion. Not having seen Jamie Clarkes Perfect live I can’t say if $$ Live Free $$ has captured their authentic live energy but based on this CD a Perfect gig is one powerfully performance; high energy and tight as hell with a lot of Pogues covers – 7 out of 18 songs, often instrumentals, but I guess those are the songs that get the punters in the door and paying asses on the seats and being a 3 piece of just guitars, drums and accordion there is a different twist.
The sticker stuck on the front of this baby states proudly, “Feat. Ex-member of The Pogues”, and now while Jamie Clarke did spend five years in our favorite London-Irish punksters, he only ever played on one CD, the last and the worst! So the stickers is just a tad misleading. Though I honestly think he and Perfect can stand up on their own accomplishments as musicians and songwriters and not need to rely on ex-memberships of anybody.
“Nobody is Perfect” is the follow up to last years “Sickly Men of Thirty of So….”, and the first on Germanys SPV Recordings (strangely best know as the home of past sell by date Heavy Metal). “Nobody is Perfect” is a classic mix of different influences all mixed together in a huge a gorgeous Irish Stew of contemporary Folk-Rock. We have the pure Irish Ceilidh through the Marshall Stacks of opener “Medley”, then the Ballroom of Romance Irish waltz meets The Beatles of “Temptress”. The power rock cover of the Flammin Grooves, “Shake Some Action”. The nod to his ex-employers The Pogues, with an instrumental melody of “Turkish Song of the Dammed” and “Bottle of Smoke” that allows Pergray Zaric to show off his accordion talents. Christy Moore’s (well Jimmy McCarthy’s actually but Christy made it famous), “Ride On” with great leads from guest Hermann Frank is also covered. “Hungarian Dance”, allows Pregray to show off some more but this time his Balkan heritage along with his fine finger picking skills. “How the Mighty Have Fallen”, is the song that if the Gallagher Brothers had written Oasis wouldn’t have gone down the toilet, a perfect Lennon & McCartney Inspired piece of rock.
Englishman Jamie Clarke first came to prominence in the 80’s rock group “Innocence Lost”, and had some minor success with that band. After “Innocence Lost” split Jamie was asked to play 5 live shows with the Pogues filling in for the sick Phil Chevron, 5 gigs turned to 5 years. Jamie was also involved in the songwriting (“The Sun And The Moon”) for the last Pogues album “Pogue Mahone”. After the Pogues, Jamie moved to Germany and hooked up with Padja Zaric, the highly regarded Bosnian high-speed accordion player and formed “Perfect”.
“Sickly men of thirty or so…” is the third full length from the band (and the first with drummer Andreas Schabinger) and what a widely diverse album it is, Punk, Folk, Country, Garage and classic British Pop influences from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. For the most part Jamie seems to have moved back to his 80’s roots. The music is acoustic based (but not always) Beatles influenced British pop mixed with a heavy doses of Padja’s accordion that gives “Perfect” it’s very distinctive identity.
“Adorable” is the best song, classic British Pop, a hit single if there was any justice (or taste) left in the world. Pogues fan should check out the cover of “I Fought the Law” the accordion makes it much more Joe Strummer with the Pogues then the Clash. “Sheer Perfection”, “Oh Man”, “Moving Up” and especially “Heart Shaped Sunglasses” (co written with Spider Stacy and James McNally) are all highlights.