'Best of' swansong for respected Cardiff alt.rockers.
Too Pure: 27 February 2006
Last updated: 20 November 2008
Mclusky toured the world, captured hearts, gained plaudits and worked with one of the world's most respected producers. But despite their pile of minor successes, the band split in 2005.
- Rice Is Nice
- Lightsabre C*cksucking Blues
- To Hell With Good Intentions
- Alan Is A Cowboy Killer
- There Ain't No Fool In Ferguson
- 1956 And All That
- Undress For Success
- That Man Will Not Hang
- She Will Only Bring You Happiness
- With MSG I Am Nothing
From the crayon scrawl of Joy (one minute five seconds of hooks buried under distortion) to the delicate, melodic progression of Without MSG I Am Nothing, this best-of brings together 12 tracks culled from their three albums.
The tracks from debut album My Pain And Sadness Is More Sad And Painful Than Yours are the work of a band finding their niche. Originally released on the Fuzzbox label, Joy and Rice Is Nice are scratchily-produced bargain basement rock songs that see Andy Falkous and his cohorts nailing their colours to the mast with The Pixies, Shellac, Big Black and a raft of other American alt.rock heroes all in evidence.
By 2002 they'd been signed to Too Pure for their second album, Mclusky Do Dallas. Regarded by many fans as being their finest work, it was produced by the legendary Steve Albini and still provides warped pop thrills aplenty. It didn't skimp on the ferocity though. Lightsabre C*cksucking Blues is every bit as visceral as its title suggests; To Hell With Good Intentions and the ugly-beautiful Alan Is A Cowboy Killer are both iron fists in velvet gloves.
It's important to remember that no Mclusky song (no song released as a single at any rate) was devoid of a pop nous other bands might kill for. Falkous might have drenched his pop in gallons of distortion, but it was always there.
The incisive and insightful lyricism of Mclusky found its apotheosis on their final set, The Difference Between Me And You Is That I'm Not On Fire. There was a more 'difficult' ambience to this album but as ever their singles boasted an accessibility.
She Will Only Bring You Happiness is the best example of their pop craft, and is by far their most stripped down song. It lacks the guitar scree, the waves of distortion and the thunderous punk rock that was synonymous with Mclusky. It provided their most radio-friendly output but proved to be one of their swansong moments.
Mclusky's body of work is clever, intellectual and challenging but also fun, poppy and witty. This album is a great introduction to one of the UK's great lost alternative bands. A limited edition three-CD set adds single b-sides, rarities and live recordings.
Words: James McLaren