Album Review: The Scaramanga Six – “The Terrifying Dream”
For those who haven’t yet encountered them during their twenty plus year existence (and as someone who used to go to their gigs way back in the early noughties can I just say bluddyell, that makes me feel old), The Scaramanga Six exist in a weird sort of twilight zone in the music spectrum, where the more experimental end of Ginger Wildheart’s catalogue rubs shoulders with The Cardiacs and The Fall, while Nick Cave looks on morosely. Now on their eighth album, their profile seems to have been on the rise in recent years and The Terrifying Dream should cement their place in the rock scene quite nicely.
The press blurb states that it’s the group’s most accessible album to date, but it’s still very much not easy listening. The key with The Scaramanga Six though is that they tend to come up with the sort of albums that will draw you back for repeated listening, because you’re always noticing new tricks every time you do. So prepare to be persistent with this one. Often, just when you’ve got a song figured out, it’ll suddenly veer off in a completely different direction and completely throw you. Even the more obviously poppy moments like The Man Who Couldn’t Sing and Out Of My Tiny Mind throw horns, keyboards and frontman Steven Morricone’s “serial killer lounge singer” vocals into the mix, while the epic likes of Arabella and Citadel really do see everything but the kitchen sink going in.
Lyrically, it’s pretty dark stuff with talk of nightmare visions, dysfunctional relationships and death littering the place, but like I say, it’s oddly enticing in its own weird way. Staring At The Accident takes The Stranglers’ Golden Brown and twists it into all sorts of sinister new shapes while the closing one-two of the despairing Blood On My Hands and the oddly uplifting Be Nothing close the album off nicely.
Not one for the easily confused then. But if you’re willing to persevere with The Terrifying Dream then it’s an album with plenty to recommend it.
It's easy to see why The Scaramanga Six have been picking up some pretty high profile supporters in recent years - The Terrifying Dream is an album which throws all sorts of unexpected twists and turns at you, but still leaves you curious to give it a second listen. Those into the more straightforward end of rock 'n' roll may want to give this one a miss, but if you're after an album to lose yourself in for days at a time, this should fit the bill nicely.