Week 71


Amsterdam (The Journey) and Ricky (Stop Kicking The Walls Down)

Split Single

Beat Crazy Records


Finally it seems that the nations listening public are starting to sit up and take notice, to wake up and smell the coffee; to tune in, turn on and leap around. It can be argued that the British music scene (albeit, the underground British music scene) is in better shape than it has been for a long time. There are those however, and I would be one of them that will square up to anyone and tell them that the British underground music scene has been in fine shape for years, you just have to scratch beneath the surface, to explore a few avenues and you will find these bands plying their wares around the smaller venues of this country, promoting self financed and home made, self released records to rival anything that the N.M.E. may be raving about during any week of the year. They will have a small, devoted following, who whilst reasuring the exclusiveness of being a member of this 'club' they would dearly wish for the wider music media to open up it's eyes to what they have seen, to what you, dear reader now have the opportunity to check out.

Amsterdam have in one incarnation or another been crafting utterly magnificent popfolkrock classics for more years than I wish to mention, songwriter Ian Prowse can indeed claim the crown of most blatantly unrecognised, yet consistently brilliant songwriter of the last 15 years. With his previous band, Pele, he produced a catalogue of works to rival the so-called greats, yet still those who wield the real power in this industry ignore him. Maybe it's because he is a tad outspoken, maybe he is just too hot to handle, maybe it's because he is just an angry old Scouser with a penchant for bitter, biting lyrics, cynical criticism, and rocking tunes. His past offerings have gained the plaudits of Mick Jones, Pete Wylie and Elvis Costello (who had the band backing him when he appeared on the Jonathan Ross show last year). More so Sheila Peel, wife of the dear departed John stated that Amsterdam's 'Does This Train Stop on Merseyside' (included on the forthcoming album) "..made John overly emotional whenever he played it".

'The Journey' is a punchy, rhythmic, driven tirade; it's a sonic salvo of guitar pounding to make even the most mainstream of music fans turn an ear. Lyrically it's typical Prowse, the bile is flowing and the vaguely controlled aggression is straining at the leash. Many years ago at The Rooftops in Glasgow, I commented to one of Ian Prowses former band mates that "..he doesn't like the Royal family very much does he..?" - "..he doesn't like fucking anybody.." came the reply. It was only half in jest. The Journey is a rant against all that is current, it's a glare at the in vogue and a stab at the heart of mainstream culture. A fine way to launch yourself headlong into the fray. This record is HMV's number one pre ordered independent release for January, do they really know who they are taking on?. Take my advice, join the many.

Ricky give us 'Stop Kicking The Walls Down", again a guitar driven, yet more melodious offering. It's harmonious jangle pop rock, reminiscent of the rockier side of Neil Young. It is bathed unrepentantly in 70's Americana, the standard acoustic guitars overlain with layer upon layer of Rickenbacker heaven. Ricky revel in retro unashamedly, for a bunch of early 20's kids they show a remarkably intelligent, observant, respectful and accomplished knowledge of what has gone before. Whilst Oasis are trying to convince you that they are not a Beatles cover band Ricky are standing up tall and proclaiming 'Aren't Buffalo Springfield fucking brilliant'.

Amsterdam and Ricky are about to set off on a joint tour of the U.K. if you like guitar bands, if you admire quality songwriters, and if you want to hear something refreshing, then check out the dates on the bands websites, and on the Beat Crazy site, and get yourself along to see them. I promise you, it'll be worthwhile.


Johnny Mac

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