Album Review: The Drunken Ramblings – “Assemblage: Complete Recordings 2012-17”
In twenty years plus of music journalism, this is probably the first time your friendly music writer has ever reviewed a disc where he’s actually listed in the credits (as a backing vocalist on a suitably shambolic cover of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”. So there you go, potential conflict of interest owned up to.
Anyway, the Drunken Ramblings. Since barrelling out of West London a few years ago, the group have put out a number of EPs on their own TLC label and “Assemblage” sees them brought together, along with various compilation appearances etc.
While I admit the group’s lo-fi take on punk may not be to everyone’s taste among the Pure Rawk readership, it’s an interesting snapshot of the evolution of the band – early tracks like “Campfires And Rum” and “Oxford Summer 2011” see them adopting the same fast ‘n’ loose smalltown punk mentality of early Soul Asylum or “Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash” era Replacements, while “Love Song” and “Scavenger Type” even see them venturing into dub reggae territory.
By the time of “Honor Oak Park” and “My Life At Sea” though, there’s definitely a Frank Turner influence coming into play, with the group growing in confidence both in their sound and their lyrics, especially prevalent on the acoustic laments of “Poetry From The Hedgerow” and “Fates”. However, they then take another swerve with “Sinking Ships” and “Silhouettes” being more in the vein of the thrashier likes of Pizzatramp or Revenge of the Psychotronic Man. With the addition of Christmas and Halloween EP’s (including a surprisingly adept cover of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves Of London”) to complete the picture, this is a good introduction to the story of the Drunken Ramblings so far.
The Drunken Ramblings offer a lower-than-lo-fi take on punk, and "Assemblage" is a good overview of their work so far, marking them out as a band who can hold their own in quite a heavily populated field. If the idea of a band blending thrash punk, Frank Turner style acoustics and early 80s alt-rock sounds appealing, then you could definitely do a lot worse than these guys.