The Schizophonics -Kendo Nagasaki
Released 23rd February 2023 on Lose Your Head Records. Reviewed by Ed Razor May 2023 The Schizophonics are:
Ken Mattholie -Bass and vocals Sean Gallagher - Guitar and backing vocals Kweku (quake)Graves - drums Sally Outwin on alto sax Roger Johnson - violin on Jeffrey's Dharma and Bedtime Story
This is a very interesting album: it’s not particularly rockabilly or Psychobilly although those influences are surely here. What this album is however is much more innovative than most with eight tales from the dark side of life with a spread of influences and genres.The music is kinda old school punk / new wave with rock’n influences. It has hints at early Theatre of Hate and X-Ray Spex due to a sound mainly shaped by the lonely saxophone lines.
What else places it in its own space are the lyrics they echo the likes of Ian Dury, Half man Half Biscuit and Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip. (You just gotta love Plastic Fox https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUmsVT_R4Eg )
The band hail from South East London and the lyrical humour and comic undertones are twisted with references to all kinds of gruesomeness and provide a truly interesting 30 minutes of sonics from the Schizophonics which should be experienced!
Track by Track
Jeffrey’s Dharma - The album opens with a song about late night offers of a lift to visit a goulish home of the darkest of Dharmaesque arts. A slow time tale with haunting sax and tense moments hinting at what would happen if you got into Jeffrey’s car and became part of his bloody diorama.
Bag for Life - We all have them even if we didn’t mean to buy one. But once you’ve had one for a while you should put them to good use obviously. The schizophonics have used theirs to keep safe and sound a loved ones head. So twist and groove to this trashy tune and don’t forget the shake and vac!
Under The Knife - With it being so difficult to get into a hospital these days a bit of DIY surgery is just what is needed. The pumping riff and spaced verses put you under a spell as well as under a knife…… Scalpel! There is a fab little reggae / ska break in the middle before the anaesthetic wears off and the band take us back into the theatre for a second helping of slicing and dicing.
Kendo Nagasaki - This is the title track and what a corker, not Judo Hiroshima or Colin the Chernobyl gerbil, no! It's the man, the legend… its Kendo Nagasaki!
Before WWE and WWF and all that glitz and glamour of modern wrestling Kendo Nagasaki , Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy were working class heroes of the wrestling world and they would entertain the masses on a Saturday afternoon on British mainstream TV, World of Sport to be precise (RIP Dickie Davies). Sweaty halls and sports centres all full of screaming and shouting and always a very angry granny. The simplest of scenarios good versus bad and the slamming of flesh on canvas. Old time wrestling adorning a ring of honour.
A great song full of comic lines and references to this historic period of TV and the ultimate man of mystery kendo Nagasaki!
Little Richard On The Hop - Little Richard is an atmospheric track that uses Tremmy guitars and toms to create a space for a horror story of death by parent and turmoil on public transport. The song mourns Richard’s fate and the loss of a young soul and the unhelpful blockage of a window seat.
Bed Time Story - You do not want this story, I promise you.
It starts with a well trodden psycho riff but then takes you elsewhere with a rock’n shuffle and whirring sax. There is something under the bed or is it just in your head?
The most rock’n track on the album which takes its time to push and pull you into a nightmare of a bed time story. Where’s my cocoa!?
Fatal Moment - My favourite track is a tense tale of late night gangsterism and terror. Gunshots ring out as the moment approaches. The protagonist urges us to look away as he pulls the trigger as he states this is his day. You may want to look away but your ears should stay exactly where they are.
Cheese on Toast - A story of love and the failure of so called loved ones to understand a certain culinary desire. Who can blame him for ending a relationship when the person he loves doesn’t share his passion for cheese on toast!
My favourite line is ‘ a nice piece of gorgonzola why? I hardly know ya’
Dryly stated within a jazzy mid section. All before the jury returns and the verdict is in and the judge condemns to imprison this poor soul after he has squirted cheese over his female guests buns.
All Hail Kendo!