Album Review: The Professionals – “What In The World”
For the benefit of our younger readers, the Professionals were Steve Jones and Paul Cook’s post-Sex Pistols band. While Johnny Rotten went off to become John Lydon and pursue a new art-rock direction with PIL and Sid Vicious went off to pursue all his worst instincts up a blind alley, Jones and Cook opted for a more straight ahead rock sound with their new group – the pair were big Faces and Slade fans, and the Professionals’ two albums (especially the all time classic 1-2-3) bear that out – however, Jones’ move to the States in the early ’80s effectively put the kibosh on the band.
2017 sees Cook reviving the group with Jones’ blessing, although the latter isn’t on board as permanent member, barring a few guest appearances. Bassist Paul Myers has returned, with the new line-up being completed by former Yo-Yo’s/Loyalties man Tom Spencer on vocals and guitar, backed by Chris McCormack (3 Colours Red) on guitar. Certainly on first glance, this looks promising, as all those involved have a decent rock pedigree and the list of guest musicians (The Cult’s Billy Duffy, G’n’R’s Duff McKagan, Def Leppard’s Phil Collen and the Clash’s Mick Jones to name but a few) is pretty damn impressive.
Unfortunately it pains me to tell you that What In The World is a bit of a disappointment – it’s not that there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just a feeling that this album isn’t quite all it could be. The songs are all solid enough, the band are on good form and Spencer’s Steve Marriott style lad about town charm works well up front on songs like lead-off single Good Man Down, Hats Off and New Generation. The trouble is that, while there’s nothing especially poor on this album, and there’s certainly plenty of songs on there that make you think “yeah, this is alright”, there’s nothing that really kicks you in the head and makes you sit up and think “WOAH, I really must cue that song up again!”. It’s the sort of album you can see yourself listening to two or three times before it gravitates towards your CD shelf/the back of your playlist to gather dust, rather than one which you’ll find yourself spinning non-stop in the months ahead.
What In The World is a solid album, but I just kind of wish it had been a bit more spectacular. Given the pedigree of the musicians involved in making it, the lack of a real standout track to move this up to another level is a bit of a disappointment. My hope is that when the Professionals come to do the follow-up (as hopefully they will), there'll be a real killer song on there to really mark their return to the fray.