Thursday, 4 March 2010

Golden Cleaners

I first became aware of The Cleaners From Venus via the book, Lost In Music by Giles Smith. Its a book that recounts Smiths time in bands and notably The Cleaners From Venus. Initially I thought it was a work of fiction, the band a fictitious group. Obviously as I worked at a record shop (we could be selling shoes!) I had to look as to if The Cleaners From Venus were real. They were and this collection, Golden Cleaners was bought to see what they were like.
I played it once, and if you count yesterdays commute twice.

This collection covers a period loosely referred to as New Wave, and the impression that I got is that Martin Newall, the main songwriter in The Cleaners From Venus and now poet, cum musician, cum author, certainly at the time of writing these songs is a talentless hack that had his albums released on cassette as no one really would take a punt on the expense of vinyl.

Lyrically the man is shocking, 6 form poetry that has a stab at humour but comes out sounding like that irritating boy at school that used to quote The Young Ones ad nauseum. None more so than on Illya Kuryakin Looked at Me, a pitiful song that tries to create a Syd Barrettesque story but sounds like a Flight Of The Conchords comedy tune, if Flight Of The Conchords were trying to do a cure influenced Syd Barrett cover, this is what it would sound like.

It does however display a certain charm in places, Newall stops being the rock star he wants to be and puts some effort into lyrics and it comes good, but his ego takes over most of the songs. Its OK to have a little ego, when the work justifies it, but one, two maybe three reasonable tracks on a best of collection is a dreadful ratio.

So Golden Cleaners, because of Illya Kuryakin Looked at Me, Johnny The Moondog Is Dead and other crimes. 2 out of 10.

Armistice Day by The Cleaners From Venus

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