It’s fair to say that Albino songwriter-in-chief and head honcho Ben Tucker can coin a nifty phrase as well as he can a memorable hook. Just two of the many things he does very, very well (I’m going to go out on a limb and declare that imbibing alcohol is another). On last years “Brand New Fear” he conjured striking images of the soul-crushing daily grind and of Russian officials reassembling the corpse of the first man in space. Well, you’ll be happy to know that he’s still at it – even in the relative infancy of 2014 you’re unlikely to hear a stranger opening gambit than “I use to bathe in lukewarm monkey milk and kumquat nectar and I slept with seventeen concubines a day.” In fact, you’re not really going to hear another band quite like these in general, and that’s why it’s such a damned pleasure to welcome these Alabama Bingo Nomads (their words, not mine) back.
You’ll be pleased to know that not a great deal has changed in the months between “Brand New Fear” and this years “The Great Unwashed”. Former Death In Vegas guitarist Ian Button is still at the production desk, the band are still on Guts For Garters (who are putting this out on the 3rd of February) and, presumably, still in the pub (you’ll be pleased to know they’re still as whisky-obsessed as before). And you can’t help feeling as if you’ve had a swig of the aforementioned liquor, the way a certain warmth spreads through you when you listen to these four new tracks. The combination of Tucker, Don Gibson and Fuzzy Salole craft vibrant, boisterous songs (the band seems to have abandoned the punkabilly label for the more straight-ahead term urban folk) that are both immediately engaging and highly memorable, while Matt Parker’s contributions with bouzouki and trombone further exemplify Albino’s penchant for the off-kilter they displayed so superbly last year. Each song leaves its’ own impression, whether it’s the propulsive bassline of the title track or the melancholic brass of Judgement Day, so much so that you’ll be humming along for days after.
How long does a band like Albino have to keep making music – great music – before they get their props? I don’t really want to be that guy who introduces social media into the equation but a meagre 62 likes on their Facebook page (61 before myself, your welcome lads) … c’mon. Really? I mean, in a way, it seems remiss to mention Albino in the same sentence as something like Facebook. There’s a joy and a vibrancy to their music that is infectious, and it happens when a “bunch of pen-pushers and data-jockeys” (again their words, not mine) pick up their instruments and play. These guys are having a blast, and whether they have 10 fans or 10,000 fans, that isn’t going to change. But it’ still worth mentioning, even if it gets these guys a sliver of the recognition they deserve. 8/10