Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The Dead 60s - The Dead 60s (2005)


Released May 2005

The Dead 60s were a short-lived punky reggae revivalist bad from Liverpool. Their sound was very and I mean very influenced by The Clash's "Guns Of Brixton/Armagideon Time style of dubby white reggae that was popular in 1978-79. There are large echoes of the early albums from The Specials and Joe Jackson too. The music on this, their debut of only two albums, was almost exclusively retrospective. Not a problem for me, as this was my era and I loved the sound back in 1978, so I enjoy the occasional listen to this. I prefer the real thing, but this is ok. What is a bit of a problem is if your sound is completely revivalist - how far can you go? The Dead 60s lasted for one more album, so maybe there is your answer. You can't live in the past for ever.


1. Riot Radio
2. A Different Age
3. Train To Nowhere
4. Red Light
5. We Get Low
6. Ghostfaced Killer
7. Loaded Gun
8. Control This
9. Soul Survivor
10. Nationwide
11. Horizontal
12. The Last Resort
13. You're Not The Law                          

"Riot Radio" is a very Specials-influenced opener, with strong hints of "Gangsters" about it, and The Clash's "Know Your Rights" too, plus some Joe Strummer "barking dog" yelps at one point. On thing that is not second-hand is the fact that The Dead 60s can play. They are good musicians and the sound quality is excellent. The frantic "A Different Age" could have been from either of Joe Jackson's first two albums, bringing to mind "Got The Time" or "One More Time". It also brings to mind early Gang Of Four as well. That sound continues on "Train To Nowhere", but this one has more "Sandinista!" vibes to it. The vocals are impressive. The atmospheric, Clash-esque punky reggae sounds of "Red Light" is a great track, ideal for adding to a retrospective "new wave" playlist, despite its coming from nearly thirty years later. It has a great bass line on it. A similarly killer bass introduces the "Watching The Detectives" groove of "We Get Low" and the vocal is pure Strummer. It even quotes the line "roulette mine" from The Clash's "Gates Of The West".

"Ghostfaced Killer" is a frenetic Specials-style ska number, again quoting The Clash in "those screams, sounds like murder" from "Somebody Got Murdered". There are strains of early Madness in there too. "Loaded Gun" is a catchy, riffy grinder of a track, with some excellent guitar parts. The Clash crop up again - "cashing in the bill of rights" - on the white reggae of "Control This". "Soul Survivor" has another excellent bassline and some "Ghost Town" keyboards, plus a bit of funky wah-wah guitar. It is an instrumental and a really good one too. "Nationwide" is packed full of atmosphere, with some Augustus Pablo-style melodica and a bit of a spooky, apocalyptic sound to it. The early Joe Jackson sound returns on "Horizontal" together with a punky vocal. "The Last Resort" has a bit of the early Police to it and also of a track by The Beat that I can't put my finger on, infuriatingly. Got it - "Noise In This World". "You're Not The Law" is an evocative slice of Specials/Clash menacing punky reggae.

Sure, this album is incredibly derivative, and therein lie its faults. That doesn't stop it being an enjoyable thirty-five minutes. however.


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