Sunday, January 29, 2012


This year BBC4 are repeating, week by week, Top of the Pops from 1977. Next January when they get to 1978 I wouldn't blink an eye to see Chris Devotion and the Expectations on screen. The music of the Scots four-piece fast-forwards from lively new wave guitar pop of that era (‘Tell The Girl’) to the ferocious garage revivalism of The Hives (‘I’m Already Home’ ) and the rapid, righteous rock ‘n’ roll of Rocket From The Crypt (‘Pinhole Suit’, ‘You’ve Got It All’). Along the way there’s some variety – the brief ballad ‘Eyes Open Now’, a Woody Guthrie cover plus the strummed acoustic and double-tracked lead guitar of ‘Blister’ wouldn’t sound out of place on Sugar’s “Copper Blue” – but most of these sixteen short songs (two have the impertinence to break three minutes) tend to fired-up feistiness.

Despite an album title that sounds like an Economic Studies primer, the band’s loud drainpipe-jeans pop majors on girlfriends and failed relationships rather than fiscal policy. Chris Devotion does link the two (“relationships (amalgamation) on a subconscious level are a matter of what we want from the other person (their capital); what they offer us”) but relationships – starting them, leaving them, wanting them – prevail with the political bite being left to the caustic ‘Surveying the Young Professionals’ and the rowdy folk-protest anger of Woody Guthrie cover ‘I Ain’t Got No Home’.

Full-bodied and fiery, "Amalgamation and Capital" packs a potent punch for 38 break-neck minutes even if not all of its many hooks stick in the mind once it’s over. But at its best, caught in the (two minute) moment of punky exuberance and pop hooks, it is a refreshingly off-trend and fine place to be.

Chris Devotion and the Expectations Amalgamation and Capital [BUY]

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