Monday, 15 March 2010



Featuring a band line-up photograph that would suggest medieval music, my initial concerns and reservations are soon put aside as The Vermin Poets turn out to be a much more charging rock proposition than I was expecting.  This band features Billy Childish after all.

Away from the usual Childish take on garage rock this record is something of a sumptuous hybrid of almost British Invasion bands exhibiting snide mannerisms and looping sensibilities.  In other words, individuals that dabbled in punk rock.

Fronted by his long time cohort and former Fire Dept member Neil Palmer this album sees Childish taking something of a back seat, taking on the bass duties rather than guitar, focusing more on the vocal message of proceedings, the poetry of the piece.

It is certainly a tough time to be a poet.  I cannot possibly imagine a time where derision could be any higher for artists of the form while equally the reputation of the form has been tarnished irrecoverably.  These guys truly have their work cut out for them.

The cover reads:

“Heirs of glory,
Heroes of unwritten story,
Rise like lions after slumber,
In unvanquishable number,”

And all in all that pretty sums up the attitude attached to the outfit, one where its tongue is firmly lodged in its cheek.  It’s a lark; it’s a fucking lark.  A lark with a purpose.

The twelve track album opens with “Spartan Dregg”, which already appears to be a new and forthcoming music persona for the group.  This is an act proud to be Spartan.

As the record progresses the highlights are “Baby Booming Bastards”, which is a casual rant and tirade aimed someone (the targets are never necessarily clear).  Later the flighty “She’s Got Ears” seals the deal with its subtly glorious hook and infectious glow.

Eventually the track “Vermin Poets” attempts to introduce and explain what the outfit is all about.  The facts remain clear as mud.

All in all with the injection of Palmer, this is the liveliest and most adventurous Billy Childish rock release in a long time.


Thesaurus moment: bard.

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