Stage Door Guy – Wroclaw: Album Review

Stage Door Guy – the post-blues-punk-poetry duo – release a second multi-genre album with the maxim “it’s chaos out there, embrace it.”

Release date: 30th October 2020

Label: Independent Records

Format: DL / CD

Heard the one about the Mancunian who got lost in New Orleans? There are plenty of American influences in CJ Williams’ low-fi guitar backing to Adam Brody’s spoken word interjections. Plenty of influences from the good old home country are packed in too. Our North West collection of people’s poets, John Cooper Clarke and Mark E Smith must have certainly been there in spirit. It all comes housed in the washed-out colours and fonts of Soviet propaganda style.

In the basic guitar/amp and vocal combo, I’m reminded of the (at the time) quite radical and alarming sight of John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett causing chaos on Top Of The Pops, wailing about being Really Free. Especially when within a few seconds of hitting play and being urged by the Stage Door Guy(s) to “stop whining!” (or was that Rik in The Young Ones – “stop whining Neil!“)

The Manchester dialect and cultural references crop up in The Death Of Stage Door Guy and Lonely Day while we get all Gallic with the title track where the confession to “wanna be adored” brings a distinctly stoney Manc tear to the eye. Manchester music icons, Joy Division and The Smiths are also mentioned in dispatches.

There are moments where solemnity takes up the reins. The hymnal hope of Amazing Grace gets hijacked by a distorted diatribe. And then you encounter the titles Karen’s Sexless Marriage and Guy Who Stole My Bike, the anticipation is that the mood will lighten. Wishing all sorts of karmic justice to befall on the bike thief comprises the latter – a piano landing on his head, Freddy Kreuger in his bed, a Glasgow kiss, syphilis – you get the drift. Meanwhile, we all live joylessly and lovelessly with Karen amidst a deep Mississippi blues groove.

Several of the pieces were formed on an ill-fated London to Wroclaw car journey – The Car Crash Blonde who spins us right round (like a record baby) being the most obvious. Where the rockabilly Cartoon Man fits in – who knows?

Nothing pushes beyond the three-minute barrier as these vignettes of acerbic and quirky observations. We’re fully into performance art territory with the eerie backing vox “stand still, your soul is going to fly, stand still, it’s time to say goodbye” leaving us in a quivering and gothic noir chill. Ultimately great fun and bizarre, off-kilter humour.

Listen to Hopeless here:

Stage Door Guy online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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