Don't Fucking Care?
Rosey R*P*E*A*T gets his hands dirty with a bunch of new CDs

The Hives "The Black and White Album" (Universal)

The Black and White album. How very appropriate.

Despite fearing that they might have become 'prisoners of our own creativity' as they travelled the world recording this album with a host of producers and 'names' on the knob-twiddling, the first five tracks of 'The Black and White Album' still retains the band's trademark scuzzy guitar-based garage fulled take on punk. All Hives fans will love them.

But then comes the white (or is the black?) half.
Indication of less workable things to come starts in the middle of the Pharrell Williams-produced "Well All Right!" A bouncy, groovy tune filled with handclaps and Almqvist's soul man growls and whoops, the song breaks into a strange, dirge-like interlude midway.

Williams also lends his hip-hop touch to "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.," a number sporting '70s funk licks, a robotic New Wave chorus and Almqvist singing falsetto, chanting "we rule the world" without his usual ego-driven gusto.
"Giddy Up!" is just plain ridiculous, a synth ditty with yelped lyrics and a "My Sharona" thrust. "Puppet on a String" replaces guitars with piano, throwing in an oddly deep hip-hop chorus and spooky howls. And "You Got It All ... Wrong" has radio-friendly written all over it, with surging pop-punk guitars, speedy beats and Almqvist yelling out, "You try it fast when you should really do it slow."

I suppose it's commendable to see a band trying to move on and progress from a successful formula, but when that progression I fear I must agree with the reviewer (plagiarised above) who wrote that this indeed an album of 2 parts 'half ear-smashing rock 'n' roll perfection and half a hapless attempt at commercial experimentation'.

Siouxsie : Here Comes That Day (Universal)

Yes, that Siouxsie! Here she comes of age as a solo artist with this second single from her album Mantaray sounding like a James Bond theme that got away. Epic production, sweeping strings and encircling brass all underline the lyrics of vengeance and revenge, as Siouxsie sounds like a more mature Amy Whinehouse or a thoroughly contemporary Shirley Bassey.

But, as The Observer says, 'no one does sex and mayhem like Siouxsie'.

Queens of the Stone Age : Make It Wit Chu (Interscope)

This reworking of the track from Josh Homme's solo album has split the fans - is it better than the earlier version, or not? At any rate this smoky, lusty Blues-rock ballad shows the band in a new light, 'hard rock inspired by the spirit of Joy Division' (The Independent), able to take hard rock to places some of their peers can only dream of.

How much this change in direction is due to the departure of Nick Oliveri only time will tell; time or a trip to see the band live when they play British gigs outside London for the first time since 2003 at the end of this month.

Reverend and the Makers : Open Your Window (Wall of Sound)
This is much more like how to do the pop music thing. Upbeat, rousing, well written and with a melody that will swirl round your brain and out of your window even after you've pressed 'eject' on the CD player, just the thing to cheer up a wet November evening.

Maroon 5 : Won't Go Home Without You (A & M)

Apparently the guitar lick from this is taken from The Police's 'Every Breath You Take', which is an ironic comment on the women in the video. Can't see it myself. All I can hear is that the verse is a completely annoying rip off of 'I Just Called To Say I Love You'; my ironic comment is that the chorus lacks Stevie Wonder's charisma or hooks. And so yes, I can very happily go home without you - it IS over.

The DFC's (Don't Fucking Cares) : Download ep

The Don't Fucking Cares are obviously a well planned and craftily plotted idea. Apparently hailing from London, New York and Stockholm, the DFCs are a sweaty, sleazy bunch of gobshites, robbing the graves of The Cramps, the Pistols and Iggy to produce this dirty, bludgeoning, infectious tale of porn and sex that is 'Download'.

While the quality of their recordings means that they still lack the power necessary to fulfil their Pistols meets the Runaways aesthetic, I for one do fucking care. We need more ideas like this!

Kaiser Chiefs : Love's Not a Competition (But I'm Winning) (Polydor 7' single only available through band website)

DISMOUNTING from their one-trick pony, Brit-pop plunderers Kaiser Chiefs chuck out a limited edition slow burner.

No doubt a live favourite, Love's Not a Competition is directionless B-side material, a self-fulfilling prophesy that speaks volumes about how average everything is nowadays that even this sounds like a remarkable moment in the Chiefs' musical development, and typically stuffed with exactly the kind of lines ("I won't be the one to disappoint you") that reviewers will jump on like flies on excrement.

'I won't be the one to disappoint you'? You already have mate.

We Start Fires : Lets Get Our Hands Dirty (Hot Noise)

A few years ago R*E*P*E*A*T regularly used to put on this band of shy, giggly girls who drove down the A1 to play for £50 or so, chauffeured by their parents. This band were an early version of We Start Fires. Who have now matured into something rather special. This single on lovely translucent blue vinyl is sleazy, dirty, sexy and powerfully produced, a filthy synth-fuelled rocker, the sort of thing the DFCs are aiming at but not quite achieving. The song writing is fantastic, pure pop and menace and energy and leering, with Becky's vocal delivery - the way she drags out and almost snarls the world 'diiirty' - being the match that lights the fires. Think Garbage shackled to The Heart Throbs, and you're on your way to understanding What Starts Fires.

Gives me hope that average bands can metamorphosise into great ones.

(Pic - by Richard Bartram while I could have used a really embarrassing early Portland Arms gig one!)

Don't forget us now you're famous, girls.

Los Salvadores : Attack of the Clones
(Corndog) (
The subtitle of this album is 'Folk Punk Our Only Hope' and within its grooves and gyrations, Los Salvadores seek to show what has made folk music such a rebellious genre from the times of Gerrard Winstanley up to The Levellers and beyond. It's easy to make fun of folk music (believe me, I've done it!) but there is a corner of the genre that is genuinely radical; Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg, God's Little Monkeys and The Buttermountain Boys spring into my mind, no doubt others will spring into yours. And Los Salvadores look like taking an honourable part in this tradition, with strong melodies, Strummer -esque vocal, powerful life affirming lyrics and not a woolly jumper or finger stuck in ear in sight.

So while folk punk might not be our only hope, it is certainly part of our arsenal.

The Proclaimers : Whole Wide World

And who would have thought that two middle aged blokes with jumpers (see above) and specs would be our single of the week? This re-working of Wreckless Eric's unjustly neglected classic has everything a pop song should have - wistful vocals, simple guitars and a killer chorus, and my copy is already worn out with playing. Go get!

Rosey (with a bit of plagiarism)

Willy Russell about this review on our message boards here!