According to historical record Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell was a highly decorated 17th Century British naval officer, parliamentarian for Rochester, Commissioner of the Sewers with a duty to the upkeep of the banks of the River Thames, and following his death at sea was interred as a hero at Westminster Abbey. According to my hazy drunken recollection of many gigs and a perusal of my music collection, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell are three nasty dirty bastards with more than a passing resemblance to The Goodies, but who rock a whole lot harder than a whole troop of pissed up funky gibbons on speed!
‘U Got Wot I Need’, complete with a spell checker apparently borrowed from Slade, kicks off the album like it was a house party fuelled with Harp lager and Watney’s Red Barrel, swaggering out of the speakers with all the confidence of a rocker splashed in Brut 33, setting the feel good tone for the album as a whole. Even the flurry of invasive tunes at the end of the track, like a badly constructed party mix tape recorded by jumping across the dial on the radio, and yes, before digital some of us remember radios with dials, adds to the party atmosphere, a hook they keep going throughout the album as a whole. ‘Hairy Brain Part 2’, and despite owning and enjoying their prior two releases I cannot find the track it is a sequel to, oozes with a sleazy charm, as well as a structure that hints at the song-writing skills and musicianship that the band try to hide behind their shaggy manes, recalling the experimental proto-metal adventures of Budgie, but with a vocalist whose balls have dropped and are swinging proudly.
‘Hawkline Monskster’ (those Shovell lads really did learn to spell at the knee of Uncle Noddy didn’t they?) is a no nonsense rock beast that demands that heads are banged, ‘Paid In Full’ drips with dirty blues, ‘I’m Movin” is an unapologetic fist in your face stomp, and ‘Tired’N’Wired’ lets the band channel their inner Led Zep with a thorough breakdown in communication that sees the drum kit getting the sort of battering that was once the province of the late, great Bonzo. The whole package is closed off with a massive slab of rock in the form of ‘Wrong’, a track that is anything but, and one that I want to see and hear live I a suitably sweaty club so I can just cut loose and lose my shit to its rocking goodness.
What Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell have done with ‘Keep It Greasy!’ is to create perhaps the greatest good time party album of the year, stuffed to the gills with tracks that will have the drink flowing at any gathering, and every face fixed with a grin that an angle grinder couldn’t shift. Whilst the emphasis is without a doubt on fun and good times, the band have pulled off the trick of having the veneer of pissed up louts who just threw out some random tunes that somehow landed together by accident as an album, whilst in reality being a bunch of bloody skilful sods. The guitar is played with a consummate combination of skill and dirt to give each track a live feel; the bass has every string and fret worked to the max by a player who clearly knows their onions; and the drums drive it all forward like a beery metronome, all the elements coming together like a well oiled, indeed very greasy, machine. What’s more, this is a trio that can bring the whole show together live like the professionals they are so desperate to hide that they are. So, if you want fun and good times, buy this album (despite the review download, I have folks!), wrap yourself in denim, and share a Party Seven with The Shovell!