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 MSP’s 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 it’s said that Dylan once owned a gun called a ‘Taurus Tracker’.

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 ain’t the Ramones either. The song slows down appreciably in the mid to late section, with an almost late 60’s 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!”. (It’s 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….”You’re 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 Rock’n’Roll” is slower, more introverted look at the hidden gem of the Capital’s 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 I’m 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 and drums.

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 with them.
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.