Is UK three-piece Archie Bronson Outfit making a dash for mainstream success? Their third LP Coconut is lighter, catchier and more diverse than the urgent, ragged blues-rock of 2006’s Derdang Derdang. Anthemic single ‘Shark’s Tooth’ and tremelo-drenched ‘Bite it and Believe it’ hover on 3 minutes and ooze radio single. Furthermore, the disaffected misogyny of Derdang Derdang is gone. One could actually contemplate liking the dudes this time around.
The opening riffs of ‘Magnetic Tooth’ are distorted to the point of disintegration, backed a hypnotic cow-bell beat. “It was just a trick of light” intones vocalist Sam Windett (well, it’s either that or “It was just a chicken pie”). While Magnetic Tooth has the density and percussive drive we expect from Archie Bronson Outfit, others are spacious and lite-on, bearing influences of bands like Duran Duran, early INXS and Joy Division. In fact, if one is a previous fan, a first listen to Coconut is pretty disorienting. The meringue-light backing vocals on ‘Hoola’ are pushing it too deep into the fruit bowl for my liking, as is the sing-song refrain of ‘Hunt you Down’ (“I’m gonna hunt you down / I’m gonna hunker down / I’ve got a hunger now”.
However, the one track to rule them all ‘You Have a Right to a Mountain Life’ strikes at song six. A pressure-cooker of sounds build-up – horns, hollering and cymbal crashes – preceding a killer tempo change as the song switches into badass old school rock n roll, treading the boards on the Link Wray side of surf rock. The song scorches.
The syncopated beats, polish and post-production work on most of the record makes the less laboured-upon numbers sound like straight-up jams. Coconut is an odd, disjointed combo but one that’d suit a long road trip – as long as you’re not scared of the ‘skip’ button.