Dylan Thomas, perhaps Wales’ most celebrated alcoholic, once stood back, cast his poetic gaze across the town of his birth and declared Swansea _“…the most romantic town I know…crawling, sprawling, slummed, unplanned, jerry-villa ‘ed, and smug suburbed by the side of a long and splendid-curving shore.” _ So what the hell happened a few miles down the road in Newport where _“…it was about last week, it really got me thinking about how your missus goes nuts when we go drinking. Last week she ended up on a binge, she got off her tits and showed the bouncers her minge”? _ They may rival Bernard Manning for crudity, but it appears the British public has taken Goldie Lookin Chain into its collective heart – minge and all.
Yet for all their Poundstretcher bling and smutty seaside humour, the one joke that got them started may not be enough to get them much further. Never mind a careers advisor, just ask The Cheeky Girls. At times GLC veer far too close to their subjects of mockery for comfort. 'R‘n’B' in particular is a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black. The lyrics may poke fun at the insipid boy bands (Blue, A1, Westlife) that think a few wrist flicks and open shirts give them eternal free entry into Yates wine lodges the length and breadth of Britain, but at the end of the day it sounds exactly like those people they are ripping the piss out of.
GLC are a band who excel live on stage thanks to their larger-than-life characters, something which their memorable festival performances will pay testament to, but on record without that presence much of the songs lose a lot of their humour. But that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of quality grooves and beats that would sit comfortably on a Beastie Boys album. The Grange Hill theme tune has been reborn as 'Charmschool' – combining classic old-skool beats, the acrid haze of skunk and the ghost of Zammo about to start back on the smack.
Yet as good as it is, even that falls short of album highlight 'Bad Boy Limp' that sounds like Public Enemy causing a riot in the small claims court. Forget the National Accident Helpline, next time you stand on a rake or fall off the top of a roof, just give this a spin and your benefits will be sorted for a decade. Even the single 'Your Missus Is A Nutter' rises above the cheesiness of its spandex guitar line to leave you with a secret urge to sleep with the overweight barmaid with the dolphin tattoos who’s been giving you the eye from the corner of your local Wetherspoon's.
While GLC’s second album undoubtedly contains some fantastically witty and accurate observations on modern British life, would a BBC3 sitcom not have been a far greater platform from which to launch the next stage of the group’s assault on popular culture?
6Andy Robbins's Score