Review of Denmark Street Lockdown
Denmark Street Lockdown:- Every so often, you come across a competent local band that consistently delivers distinctive sounds. Punk Dylan is one such ensemble and their latest album, 'Denmark Street Lockdown' does not disappoint. Referring to the studios used by the band during the continuing restrictions imposed by the UK government due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Denmark Street Lockdown is imbued with all of the tension, uncertainty and sorrow of 2020. The album opens with Pope Joan, ( A rare old last Death Pop song), this lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Vic making a spoken announcement in a U.S. warble. It's a jaunty bluesrock number, doubling up as a reference to pub-rock too. Vic's sarcastic vocals add to the politically- evocative atmosphere of this song.
Track 2 Perfect World was only played a couple of times in the 1985/86 band The Wheel – a Slough 3 piece. This re-visit sees the band infusing harmonica with guitar, providing a crisply defined intro, then it all merges into a prog-rock feel. Teddy's vocals are strong on this positive track, and Vic's singing combines here to bring a narrative that tells us that it takes two to tango, albeit at 2 metres apart. With all of us in the swim of hands, face and space, we seek to break this most mechanical of routines: You have to pause from your busy life, take in the elements of your surroundings. Then you can assess the quality of your life. Ending with Vic's understated vocals, the listener is left to construct his or her own utopia . A winner!
Track 3 Shocking Inspiration brings us down to Earth again. With time on our hands during lockdown, we have to keep ourselves occupied. Which new hobbies, new hobbies and interests emerge from our innermost, crying out for change, diversion, inspiration? Smoking with Texan heat, this excursion, a live favourite, trundles its multiple layers down a railroad track bustling with surprises and setbacks. Crisp guitar licks enter and exit, whilst hillbilly riffs interweave.
Track 4, Everyman, is a folksy statement. A thread of sadness runs through this pastiche of Nashville nous, Liverpool laments and Mancunian morosity. We are all in this lockdown together. Everyman. And every woman. We are increasingly courteous and kind to each other, an enormous team of many ethnic parts. Something for everyone is here! 'Beautiful Bird' forms the mid-point of the album at Track 5. An avian creature is represented by the flute that opens this ode to nature, this instrument continuing to feature strongly. When it is safe to do so, it pays us to go for a walk into the green yonder, during lockdown, a breath of fresh air, and a sharp intake of sounds made by animals and other organisms, some not so familiar. The thing that binds our whole experience together is the beauty of it all, the finely-tuned ecological harmony warming our hearts and refreshing our minds. And when haven't we needed this? We needed it back in 1986, when this track first drew breath. And with our government further restricting our time spent outdoors as I write, we need it now, more than ever. Trademark Dylan guitars provide the main core. A simple song, no doubt danced to with arms outstretched!
The sixth track on D.S.L. is 'Wishing Well'. Not to be confused with that blues-rock hit from Bad Company back in the 70's! In the same vein though, Vic's treacly vocals dominate, followed by his tongue-in-cheek la-la-las, harking back to 60's flower power, only to be shoved aside by spic and span guitar: very now! A fine blurred effect ends this song, which warns us to be careful in whom and what we place our trust. With a sharp rise in crime over lockdown, the fraudsters take centre stage. Get yourself protected!
Murky and sullen, track 7 - Castles - brims firstly with evocations of past battles, bloodshed, and quagmires, the smell of cannon- and gunsmoke omnipresent. But secondly, it's reminding us of how a dramatic loss of clientele and footfall on our high streets during the pandemic, has brought down once-mighty commercial bastions, whilst others are having to operate at a fraction of their normal capacity. Just like so many of the castles in the UK, these firms are in ruins. So how pleasing it is to replay this song, featuring gaunt guitars and vocals!! Teddy's voice rises Joplin-like out of the rising mist. A top track, with vivid guitar trickery closing it well.
8th comes 'Reality Feedback', the first original song ever played live byThe Dead Popes in 1980. Flute and lead guitar gently introduce this no-nonsense punk offering. In our lockdown isolation, the no-brainers and karmic kerfuffles easily surface. More importantly, the punk fire of this song displays how bad lockdown habits suddenly confront us. We need to mend our ways. And pronto! The resulting riot In the Vatican serves as a parallel to the widespread unrest we have seen throughout lockdown, as livelihoods - and sometimes lives - have been lost wholesale. The Vatican riot, and unrest, are both unthinkable! The penultimate tune on this memorable album is 'It's Summertime'. And you had better pogo to it! A punk memento bursting with all the power and menace of bands treading CBGB's boards circa '77, this one relates to that season of humid days spent betwixt river and railway line, a lockdown loose-up of longing, and liberal lampooning of the establishment - a punk tradition after all said and done - with steam issuing from every orifice. The ever-reliable Teddy out-trebles Vic's baritone warble, London oik and Mancunian punk more than having a say, too. Rest now, comrades! The final song is The Alienation, track 10. Beginning with a vocal entanglement, we hear Vic's gothlike gloom, as we are transported to our outbursts of "this lockdown is unnatural! " We follow the sanitiser, mask and distance routine in robotic unison. But this means we're no longer our true selves! A haunting keyboard gives an extra ethereal feel. Abandoned Manchester mills and factories are prominent here. Add today's business casualties to their number, if I were you! This track is Vic's bag. He pulls it off admirably!! From: Wind and reed monthly