Having a famous relative can be a double edged sword
in the music business. On the one hand there are always going to be
claims of nepotism, whilst on the other, they can open doors and give
your career a much needed leg up.
So when the blurb that accompanied this CD states that lead singer
Martin Muscatt is the cousin of punk uber god Mick Jones of the Clash,
I was unsure what to think. Having said that, their previous release
Monks, Punks & Drunks had garnered praise from both
ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock and the MSPs front man James Dean
Bradfield. The fact that other band member, Allison Phillips, had
also served time with both Alternative TV and the Raincoats would
seem to cement their punk credentials. Apparently the band get their
name from the Bob Dylan Chronicles in which its
said that Dylan once owned a gun called a Taurus
Opener Lucky has an guitar driven almost blues feel, albeit
still rock by nature. As soon as Martin starts his vocals you can
hear the distinctive West London drawl that must run in the genes
and despite only having two members, they have one heck of a big sound.
This is not the simplistic stereotypical punk/Oi sound, but the musically
competent wordsmith as seen in the music of the Clash in their pomp.
Clocking in at over five and a half minutes it certainly aint
the Ramones either. The song slows down appreciably in the mid to
late section, with an almost late 60s Rolling Stones feel, building
to a crescendo with additional classy backing vocals by Krysten Cummings.
A promising start.
Just to show they are not content to have only one sound, 21
Miles to a Water Pump starts with the wailing saxophone of Dave
Wright of X Ray Spex, in a cacophony of sound. The song settles down
to relay the futility of continually complaining when ultimately all
the kids know politicians suck!. (Its not just kids that
know this, I can assure you!).
Rock Some Kind of Zen utilises the slide guitar of Peter
McDonald. The song also weighs in at over the five minute mark, with
a biting critique of broken relationships. Nice guitar work in the
mid section by Muscatt, which made me reminisce regarding a remark
made about his cousin by Joe Strummer nearly 35 year ago .Youre
my guitar hero! (Rest in Peace Joe).
Bag for Life is a real rock song. Screeching guitars and
thunderous drums from Allison Phillips, with a shout aloud chorus.
God only knows how just the two of them make such a racket! Dedicated
to their roots in Portobello West London RocknRoll
is slower, more introverted look at the hidden gem of the Capitals
music scene. Building Ten sounds closest to what would
nowadays be rather narrowly defined as punk rock. Nothing particularly
radical, but still, a solid, and ultimately very catchy, rock track.
And just to prove that he does take an interest in his young relative,
contains additional guitar parts by Mick Jones himself:
The blight or urban gang culture is reflected on in Young Mans
Trouble and shown for what it we all know it to be, a futile
waste of young lives. Given the increasing number of fatalities seen
on the streets of London and the disenfranchisement of great sways
of the nations youth, it makes you ponder where it will all end:
More sliding guitars on Gamblin Blues give a sound almost
Oasis in feel although with a Cockney, rather than Mancunian, twang
to the vocals. In places Push and Pull sounds uncannily
like Another Girl, Another Planet by the Only Ones. Muscatt
informing the listener that with a heart like a raging bull,
I need a little push and pull although Im not sure if
this is rhyming slang for any kind of sleazy activity. Final track
Temporary keep up the standards with a good solid rocker
that muses on more cosmic questions, all to a backdrop of guitars
Inevitably the fact they are a male/female rock duo are going to throw
up the the name of the White Stripes. However, I can see no reason
why they should suffer by comparison. Their own description of themselves
as a punk/blues duo, sums up their sound perfectly. When punk first
started most of the instigators (Strummer, Jones etc) had already
been in earlier bands, that would have been loosely classed as rhythm
n blues or pub rock and therefore took those influences
Taurus Trukker continues in the tradition of bands such as Mott the
Hoople and Rolling Stones, but mixing in later punk influences seen
in bands like the Stranglers and, more obviously, the Clash. They
are more than capable musicians and sing about subjects they both
know, and care, about. Ultimately this is a good rock album and confirms
that Muscatt/Jones family tree obviously has great musical genes.