Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell

Check 'Em Before You Wreck 'Em

Written by: EW on 23/03/2014 10:21:26

Hastings' Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell offer one of the more unique takes on the loosely defined heritage/retro rock genre of recent times, with the work-in-progress nature of their debut "Don't Hear It... Fear It!" bearing fruit here on sophomore "Check 'Em Before You Wreck 'Em". Self-described in their bio as 'grease rock' I can see what is meant by that - there is an intended rough-around-the-edges element to both their songwriting and performance, making any number of these songs eminently more likeable than the increasingly calculated offerings coming out in the stifling heritage rock canon. It could be easily forgotten considering the current musical climate but rock'n'roll was not meant to be pretty and this eccentric trio damn well know it.

First thing to be emphasised is how consistently varied Admiral are: no two songs sound alike yet a distinctive red line runs throughout despite the broad range of influences and comparators abounding. One reason for this is the stripped down 'garage' nature of the sound - one guitar, bass, drums, seemingly no overdubs and the kind of 'live' feel to their playing that is absolutely essential for great stripped-down rock. I do think some of the compositions are too bloated by the trio's tendencies to break into a rehearsal room jam ("Captain Merryweather" and "Late Night Mornings") but the purpose about riffs like the one breaking in "Happiness Begins" and "Don't Hear It...Feat It!" are unarguably great. That to which I refer in the title track of LP1 is not unlike the Arctic Monkeys of old; "The Thicker the Better"'s shuffling rhythm recalls The Strokes (or what I remember of them from my youth) while "Shake Your Head" has the psychedelic swagger of scene-leaders Kadavar, however none sound contrived or misplaced. Rather like Clutch, the modern day (in comparison to admitted legacy influences Sir Lord Baltimore and Dust) US band I most associate with ASCS, this is simply down to a clear knowledge within the band of their own sound and limitations, rather than over-arching desire to be something which the band are not.

In avoiding towing the line of mediocrity in a vague hope of selling more, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell benefit from a classic bout of English eccentricity, rather like the one that has seen Uncle Acid and the Deadbeat's profile rise so rapidly. Whether Admiral have the desire to follow in the Uncle's footsteps remains to be seen but their cocktail of greasy, sweaty no-frills rock is a hark back to a bygone era devoid of the po-faced revisionism that understandably turns people off bands like Orchid and Blues Pills whose entire stock is so candescent of particular bands from that era and whose longevity today is likely to be much short because of it. If all this sounds like a winning formula to you then maybe you really should check 'em, while they still rock 'em.


Download: Do It Now, Happiness Begins, Running From Home
For the fans of: Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Kadavar, Clutch, Blue Cheer
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.04.2014
Rise Above Records

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