So what to expect of punk rock guitarist Brian James latest release in 2015. The former London SS man, responsible for writing most of The Damned first two albums, ’Damned, Damned, Damned’ and ‘Music for Pleasure’ before his departure in 1977. By 1979 Brian worked with Iggy Pop as art of his solo touring band, but also recorded ‘Ain’t that a Shame’ with Iggy. James also featured as guest guitarist on The Saints album ’Out In The Jungle’; Brian James would go on to co-found and play in the Lords of the New Church with Stiv Bators. Best maybe to keep things in short-hand, it’s the least I could give you, but even this abridged ramble eludes that Brian James has form, to a generation or two his name carries weight, rightly so.
The album artwork itself, gets th thumbs up, a take off of the Hammer Studio That Dripped Blood artwork courtesy of Graham Humphreys, he who painted the original Lords covers so well. All the omens are looking good ahead of the first listen.
‘The Guitar That Dripped Blood’ is a healthy punk guitar wet dream, more muscular sounding than say The Cramps, closer to late 1970’s shock ‘n’ awe style, just a distortion or two darker, puts me in mind of The Dead Boys’ New York comeback-show only with more guile I guess. Cheetah Chrome adds even more kudos as special guest guitarist on the former Lords era song ‘Becoming A Nuisance’ the album’s opening track which just sounds amazing. ‘Regulator’ continues the momentum with Adam Becvare, the former vocalist adds his skills to three other album tracks with James on vocal duties for the majority of proceedings. ‘Walking Around Naked’ has it’s charm, over=-shadowed perhaps by the guitar work on ‘Not Invited’ (if only The Styrenes had took up guitar rather than a grand piano), but the change of pace sits comfortably also on ‘When The Rains Come’. James also gives us ‘Baby She Crazy’ and the deft ‘Hail Mary’, again with Becvare on vocals to good effect. This release could be played everywhere such is the life affirming energy and craft on show – talking now to you tv and radio land.
The Guitar That Dripped Blood’ just seemed to drop out of the ether, tried asking Easy Action Records how long this new album has took, they replied, “We have no idea how long these songs have been stockpiled in the Brian James vaults but I’m sure as hell delighted this album has seen the light of day” a spirit once you here this release, most will echo. Coming out as part of a Record Store Day exclusive in limited coloured vinyl this is a must own for anyone who’s been a fan of any of Brian’s previous bands, as it is, WithGuitars are won over. 8.7/10