A genuine genre tester of a set from Slinky Vagabond and friends.
Release Date: 6th December 2021
Format: Digital / CD
“Too young to live and much too fast to die,” sing the pair of Slinky Vagabonds, Keanan Duffty and Fabio Fabbri (ably assisted by Midge Ure) on Prima Donna, the strident opening cut on King Boy Vandals.
It’s a bold philosophy from the Glam-Art Rockers who’ve found that the lockdown proved “a good time to rope in some of our buddies who might have some time on their hands.” Keanan must have quite some little black book with the likes of EarlSlick, Clem Burke and Glen Matlock in early incarnations of the band and a lifetime of collaborations in different forms whose names are etched deep in the annals of music history.
It’s not surprising then that Keanan calls King Boy Vandals:”An album that’s the sum of its parts,” as the star-studded line-up rips into a succession of guitar rock musical dramas. For starters, ex-Psychedelic Fur and Guns ‘n’ Roses man Richard Fortus adds a very G’n’R lead line to the riff heavy Fear No Evil that might well have come from the pen of Ian Hunter and his gang. The variety and shifting musical pallet starts to kick in with the string laden and relaxed pace on The Beauty In You where the guitar solo aches rather than bites; a cool and laid back easy listener.
The there’s the T.Rex (20th Century Boy anyone?) rawness of the opening riff to Old Boy (again, Midge is on hand, but I an’t imagine him wringing out that dirty riff. The couplets armed with a sleazy swing and rustic wink. I’m Falling Down is a more lush and velvety smooth arrangement that holds the trump card of an immediate hook. A track that rivals Rockin’ Into An Explosion as the pick of the album. The cosmic vibrations of the latter, he soaring pedal steel and hints of the old crazy diamond, Syd B, might tip the balance.
The magic carpet ride of English Country Garden updates the late Sixties Floyd sound of polite British psychedelia, crossed with what could conceivably be a nod to Dear Prudence-Beatles. Alice is looking through her glass as the vocal verges on dreamy sneering while held aloft by a razor sharp guitar line. The thoughts of walking around an English country garden in the rain, out of your brain – wow, groovy man. New favourite track.
Across its ten tracks, King Boy Vandals proves a place to park your bike where genres and decades collide, although not as harshly as you imagine. A New Wave core comes blended smoothly with harder edges, the ghost of some punk attitude and some more contemporary vibes. Even some electronic bleeps make their way from the Space Rock universe into Absolutely Dark.
“At the beginning, we didn’t have a plan for this project,” says Fabio as he talks of the great energy playing music with Keanan. The different musical backgrounds has created an exciting and invigorating mix. Working without boundaries, plans or deadlines – “the true essence of rock & roll.”
As an award-winning British fashion designer and musician Keanan Duffty has made mixing music and fashion his forte. Look out for the Why I Love feature he’s done for us, going live in the next few days.
Here’s the video for I’m Falling Down (featuring Tony Bowers and Dave Formula):