Album Review: The International Swingers – “The International Swingers”
So you join us in some alternative universe where Billy Idol is giving his most recent album one final playback before it goes off to the label for release. As he nods along, his brow starts to furrow as if he’s deep in thought.
“You know what lads,” he says as the final song comes to an end, “There’s some good ideas on there but bluddyell we went overboard on the ballads a bit, didn’t we? Shall we go back in and rewrite this bugger with added rocking out?”
The band nods and, reinvigorated, they head back into the studio to well and truly kick loose.
Well okay, so none of that’s true. But it’s safe to say that The International Swingers’ new album is very much what you’d imagine Kings And Queens Of The Underground would have sounded like if ol’ Bill had kicked out the jams a bit more. From the moment the killer one-two of FBI and Gun Control kick in with a blazing guitar line, pinpoint bass and drums and snarling swaggering vocals, it’s obvious that this lot mean business.
Then again, given the pedigree of the guys involved, that’s maybe not a surprise – The International Swingers feature Clem Burke (Blondie) on drums, James Stevenson (Chelsea/Generation X/Gene Loves Jezebel/The Alarm) on guitar and Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols/Rich Kids/Peckham Cowboys) on bass. With Gary Twinn of Aussie rock ‘n’ rollers The Twenty Flight Rockers providing the Cochrane-style sneer up front, it’s certainly an impressive amount of experience here.
If the International Swingers are occasionally guilty of dropping into cliché territory a bit with their lyrics on songs like You Turned My Head or Sweet Sweet Love, they’ve got the sheer joie de vivre and enthusiasm to carry it off. Elsewhere, The Babys/Dogs D’Amour style Spanish guitar-led lament of Running Man varies the pace nicely. All in all, this is an impressive debut and well worth a look.
The International Swingers have put their experience to good use here and come up with a strong first effort. It's very much straight-up rock 'n' roll in the vein of everyone stretching back to Elvis and Vince Taylor, but when it's done with this much style and panache it'd be a cold heart indeed that wouldn't fall for its charms. Recommended.