Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5
The legacy of the Young Bucks stretches back to the pre-punk miasma of the Pub Rock era, formed by Pat Rafferty and Tony Wadsworth, with frontman Archie Brown joining their ranks in the sweltering heat of 1976, taking their name from a line in the 1948 Bogart/Bacall movie Key Largo. With later links to such bands as X-Ray Spex, Dexys Midnight Runners and Supertramp, the band grew out of the fertile Newcastle music scene, enduring one or two line-up changes along the way, yet in 2020, they are back to tell the tale.
With a prominent twangy telecaster, courtesy of Wadworth and a retro rock feel throughout, together with the occasional seasoning of Rafferty’s Tex-Mex accordion and Jerry Lee piano, the band makes a welcoming noise, especially to ears accustomed to the spirited revival of a rock and roll aesthetic. In other places there’s some strategically placed bluesy organ motifs, together with warm strings, notably on the gorgeous “A Better Life”, which romantically intertwine with two weeping guitars. The band also have their Stax moments, such as the funky “Serious”, where the ripples of the Tennessee River running through Muscle Shoals can almost be felt.
With a part-bandit/part-Covid19 protection warrior cover illustration, Archie Brown has one foot in the past and the other very much in the present, which is reflected in these fourteen highly listenable songs. The smouldering guitar solo midway through the sultry opener “Madam Cocaine” is an invitation for listeners to slip off their shoes, relax a little and stick around for the duration.
Choice Track: Madame Cocaine (NSV 507)