The Amphetameanies – Last Chance Bordello Review - Jenny Tingle

The Amphetameanies have had a hell of a lot of musical experience and time spent playing together, living together, playing venues from Nice N Sleazy to T in the Park, and touring together. Over the years the Meanies’ music has become Not refined, that’s definitely the wrong word for the Meanies, but distilled into something purer but just as lethal. This musical coherence really comes across in their latest album, Last Chance Bordello. Each instrumental part is clear and interesting to listen to in its own right, and although Last Chance Bordello is maybe not as manically paced as previous albums, it packs quite a kick.

The Meanies sound is Unmistakably Ska, but with a generous dash of Glaswegian humour. Something I love about Meanies music is the infectiously dancy ska backbeat and the sense of humour throughout. It’s music which makes me smile. You can hear this band having fun.

House on a Hill is my favourite track on Last Stop Bordello. It kicks off with a unique reggae-ska hybrid blended drum and guitar riff which I could listen to again and again just to try and suss it out. In one section of the song Cheerful whistles complement a ska backbeat featuring the rapper, Itch. This song is bursting with enough interesting melody lines, rhythms, lyrics and instrumental parts to hear something new with every time, but the song never seems crowded. Singing and rapping is cleverly and entertainingly interwoven. Open-sounding, brassy Meanies tunes are peppered with adept rapping from Itch. Lyrics, “The River is rising, city downsizing” sung by the Meanies is added to by Itch who says “The ice caps are melting” and suggests that when London sinks underwater due to Climate Change, people are going to come up north “looking for a Glasgow Kiss and an iron special brew”. “Farewell Leicester Square”, Itch laments, before a punchy and abrupt end.

Leaving has a cathartic feel. Lighter drums and a trumpet solo give it a Mexican fiesta kind of vibe. Slightly gentler and more introspective than other tracks, but still unmistakably a Meanies song. Lyrics “This time I’m leaving you” and “I have drunk so much wine there is no other way” are lightened by bright keys and a near continuously tapping snare drum. Complementing verses which focus on vocals and are more spare instrumentally, the upbeat Chorus never allows the music to lose forward momemtum despite the unhappy theme. One of those Happysad songs. I really like this one.

Good One Go is accompanied by a punchy thumping bass drum. Unlike Leaving, Good One Go is entirely without wistfulness. A cheerful, punchy breakup song. Highly catchy, with guitars which echo percussive vocal lines and a vengeful energy, this one’s going to be stuck in my head for a while.

Tales of The Arizona Highway begins with the sounds of screaming engines and a police siren zooming from left to right across my headphones. This fast-paced cheeky song is interspersed with high-pitched, trilling calls and yells of yee haaaaa! and a request (presumably from pursuing law enforcement) for a chocolate doughnut. This song is a piece of madcap storytelling about a modern-day western pursuit and showdown cleverly woven in with loud brass harmonies, the usual jigging ska backbeat, and galloping drums. Typical Amphetameanies madness. It’s very enjoyable.

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