English punk rock. But from Portugal. Oh yes you can!...
Righteous disbelief seeps from this, the Parkinsons’ debut seven track
mini-album. Who can blame them? Having fled their native Portugal to
relocate in the home of non-conformity, the Marquee Club
and Johnny Rotten, the Brylcreem rockers arrived to find
Enrique Iglesias at Number One, an ‘alternative’ scene overflowing with
acoustic guitar-huggers namechecking Randy Newman and Sting, and a macabre
waxwork of the Sex Pistols singer on show at Rock Circus. Their reaction,
musically and spiritually, has been that of four Charlton Heston’s at the
close of ‘Planet Of the Apes’, raging at a world gone mad.
The name is a sick joke about a paralysing disease. On the sleeve singer
Alfonso Pinto is credited as Al Zheimer. You get the impression that the
band would happily peel off their skin and dive into a barrel of salt if
they thought it might offend someone.
Logical then, that musically the Parkinsons inhabit the narked hinterland of
the late seventies. Acoustic ballads about the poignancy of the sunrise are
in short supply. Indeed, Sham 69 fans may find shelter in the numbskull
bluster of ‘Nothing To Lose’ and ‘Too Many Shut Ups’. Occasionally, as in
‘Angel In The Dark’, they trawl the depths of punk also-rans the Lurkers,
and you worry for them. Lyrically Alfonso dreams of a better world, where
nihilism rules. In ‘Universe’ he bawls [I]”Every day is just like the other
day”[/I] and you can’t help but admire the attitude of someone who cares so much
for punk he will happily bore himself to death in homage to it.
In their sepia-tinged world ‘muso’s’ are laughed at instead of lauded,
band’s are judged solely by the width of their drainpipes and you can still
get change out of a fiver after a wild night out seeing the Vibrators at
the Roxy. Not for the faint-hearted, then. But the Parkinsons are worthy, wayward
spirits, and there’s not many about.