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Pirates vs Scuzzies

March 14, 2012

First published June 2011

Shakin’ With The Devil – The Pirates

The Skuzzies – Easy Action

A tale of two power trios. Subtitled ‘The Best Of The Pirates 1977-79’ two CDs contain  52 tracks, comprising all three of the bands LPs plus unreleased tracks, B-sides and radio ads. Also included is a well-illustrated full colour booklet with sleeve-notes by long-term supporter Roy Carr. The numerous live tracks attest to a band most at ease onstage where Mick Green appeared to play lead and rhythm guitar simultaneously. The lack of quality original material becomes increasingly apparent, but there are enough rocking covers to compensate with Skull Wars out-takes The Witch Queen of New Orleans and Lonesome Train particularly impressive.

Coming bang up-to-date The Skuzzies are tirelessly promoted by their mentor Nina Antonia who contributes sleeve notes here. So the sonic resemblance to vintage Heartbreakers is unsurprising with singer and guitarist Jerome Alexander even sporting a Thunders haircut. ‘The Unknown Principle’ offers a welcome change of pace and producer Darren Jackson achieves a more varied sound on this and subsequent track ‘Are You Sleeping?’ The trio format allows Laura Clarke to play some agile bass whilst drummer Nik L’e West (oh yes) respects the space he is given by not over-playing. The moody ‘Heartache Accelerates’ suggests the Skuzzies could profitably expand beyond pop-punk into something with more darkness and light.

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