Worth seeking out for times when the Friday night feeling is sorely needed.
Lou Thomas 2010
Audio Bullys were initially known for being the angry, loud epitome of early noughties hooligan house. Yet the duo have been fairly quiet since their frantic Nancy Sinatra revision Shot You Down smashed its way into the top three back in 2005.
Half a decade is along time away, so the question for listeners to Tom Dinsdale and Simon Franks’ third album must be: what do Audio Bullys have to say about the recession-ravaged, mephedrone-addled Britain of today?
In truth, not a lot. There isn’t much which marks Higher Than the Eiffel as being particularly progressive or even now; but it is a fun, vital party album packed full of what used to be called bangin’ tunes.
Booze and drugs references are still way up in the mix. Within seconds the album’s opener, Drums (On With The Story), pairs spacey synths with Franks singing, “What the hell are you on?” This is swiftly followed by lead single Only Man, a triumph of metallic guitar-ish samples, understated sax riffs and thumping Lo-Fidelity Allstars-echoing grooves. Two tunes in and the motivation is clear: stop what you’re doing and dance.
Aside from Daisy Chains, a wistful number redolent of I Monster’s Daydream In Blue, and closing track Goodbye, a moderately successful attempt at underrated Specials single Do Nothing, lairy times abound.
Feel Alright is a highlight. It sounds a bit like Justice nicking a fast, dangerously overheating Ford Cortina with the Beastie Boys, while Shaun Ryder drunkenly sings Kinky Afro in the back. It is tremendous, much like Twist Me Up. This is nothing less than a terrific, albeit unexpected, suburban punk tune about a relationship breaking down, and sounds like a stowaway from a Buzzcocks or Stranglers album.
Drained Out, perhaps the best song here, sees the album return to expected pastures, or rather filthy alleyways, with the couplet “I miss my girl, I miss my family, too much cocaine too much brandy” arriving amid some satisfyingly sleazy P-Funk.
There’s little crowd-pleasing electro or fashionable dubstep on Higher Than the Eiffel, but Audio Bullys have made a welcome, well-produced and lively returning album that delivers the goods far more often than even fans could have expected. Worth seeking out for times when the Friday night feeling is sorely needed.