Wild Billy Childish and the MBEs
Title: Thatcher’s Children
Catalogue Number: Damaged Goods DAMGOOD313LP
Review Format: LP
Release Year: 2008
Margaret Thatcher on the cover of a new album release? It is doubtful whether today's youth could even tell you who she was let alone how she became the enemy (or should that be the enema…) of the disaffected working class. Nevertheless the world can always do with another punk album and this is what Wild Billy Childish and the Musicians of the British Empire attempt to give us complete with a newspaper cuttings and glue style cover. Takes me back, that does.
Billy Childish is his own man and, like all of Britain's national treasures, we indulge him. Unearthing Margaret Thatcher is nothing less than we would expect of him (at least until he gets bored and adopts another demon). Thatcher is any easy target of course, but it is not the Childish way to approach things head on. He dwells more on the after effects of Thatcherism than on vilification with the title track "Thatcher's Children". You also don't get musical complexity either. All the songs just clatter in and out of your ears without wasting any time and left this reviewer feeling twenty years younger. Oddly enough, there is some thinly disguised pop in there as well as Nurse Julie takes the lead on "He's Making a Tape" that could easily be classified as a conventional teenage heartbreak song and would be right at home all the way over on the west coast of America. Even "Dole Drums" manages to be more surf instrumental than punk anger perhaps hinting at where the Childish train will next be stopping. Like late sixties American garage rock…
To tell the truth, it doesn't really matter whether this is a punk album or not as the real mystery is how Billy Childish has kept his anger going for all these years. It just wouldn't be right to listen to this album on compact disc, by the way. No matter how you look at it, it is of times thought long forgotten and it belongs on vinyl. While it might not be prime cut Childish - there's nothing to match the venom of "Poundland Christmas" here, for example - it still bitch slaps most of the (younger) competition in the energy stakes.
August 23, 2008
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