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MUSIC Album reviews

Latest releases from Micko & the Mellotronics, Billie Joe Armstrong and Paul McCartney

Micko & the Mellotronics
½ pigeon -½ human
(Landline Records)
★★★★

ART punk, wry observations, some musical magic and a slew of special guests – there’s a lot packed into this debut.

 

Musically, it swings from modish bons mots to psychedelic riffs mixed with good old odd pop a la the Young Knives. The Finger echoes Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life and Noisy Neighbours is a rocking art-punk tune, although single Psychedelic Shirt is a bit too contrived.

 

Special guests pepper the record, from the late Neil Innes of the Rutles to goth-rock legend Jon Klein of Specimen and Siouxsie & the Banshees fame, who not only played on but also produced the album.

 

There are good riffs aplenty and strong production,  but the album is let down by some crass commentary — Sick and Tired’s disparaging message about homeless people particularly — and weak vocals that detract from the talent that has obviously put this all together.

 

Tone down the vocals, turn up the music.

 

 

Billie Joe Armstrong
No Fun Mondays
(Reprise)
★★★★

 

A RESPONSE to the challenge of lockdown, Billie Joe Armstrong’s No Fun Mondays is a compilation of covers showcasing his punk-pop influences and indulgences.

 

Opening with an inspired and enjoyable version of Tiffany’s 1980s pop hit I Think We’re Alone Now, which he makes his own in his inimitable Green Day punk style, this is a selection of classics put through the mixer.

 

Whether the protopunk of Wreckless Eric’s Whole Wide World, the protest of John Lennon’s Gimme Some Truth or his version of Police, previously done by the Clash and the Equals, there’s much to admire.

 

Billy Bragg’s A New England ends the album, whose clever choice of tracks is a bit of a musical education in multiple artists who are well worth exploring further, so it’s a fun compilation that opens the door to so much more. Enjoy.

 

 

Paul McCartney
McCartney III
(Capitol)
★★★

Trailed as a simple, stripped back, solo work, Paul McCartney’s latest and 18th studio album was recorded in what the former Beatle termed last year’s “rockdown.”

 

Musically, it is tight, tuneful and well crafted — but then McCartney played all the instruments. Yet lyrically it is less adept, relying on poor rhymes and too much repetition.

 

Opening track Long Tailed Winter Bird repeats the same three lines almost ad infinitum, while Seize The Day pairs the phrase “dinosaurs and Santa Claus” for no apparent reason.

 

Lavatory Lil is a likeable rock-by-numbers ditty let down by that title, while Deep Down is dirge-like while trying to extol partying like there’s no tomorrow.

 

It’s all a bit middle of the road, if not try-hard in places, but sells because it’s by a former Beatle. Saying that, Ringo Starr’s new EP due shortly may prove the better buy.

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