Rock The Dock

The idea of Suggs producing a concept album once seemed about as likely as Ian Dury joining Yes ...

THE IDEA OF SUGGS PRODUCING A CONCEPT ALBUM ONCE seemed about as likely as Ian Dury joining Yes. And while ‘The Three Pyramids Club’ is no bloated prog-rock odyssey, the songs are nonetheless tied together to form what the sometime Channel 5 game-show host calls a “vicious cabaret”.

“Embarrassing knees-up” might be a more appropriate description, as the music swings drunkenly from the vaudeville cheesiness of ‘Straight Banana’ to the rinky-dink cod-ragtime of ‘Our Man’, with Suggs out front like some Cockney karaoke king.

Yet the club ‘concept’, such as it is, also allows him to take some less obvious musical detours. Suggs is free to inhabit the role of any shady character who might frequent the club, yet is perversely far more personal in these songs. ‘Invisible Man’ could well be a wry, honest comment on his own post-Madness status ([I]”Looking so busy but he’s going nowhere”[/I]), while the seemingly confessional ‘So Tired’ finds him wailing,[I] “I don’t know why I sometimes get lonely”[/I]. Not what we expect exactly, but the latter is surprisingly punchy and powerful.

Predictably, however, the rest is the work of a man who will one day resign himself, Gerry Marsden-like, to performing one-offs with a tiresome ska cabaret act who trade on the memory of former glories.

Oh, [I]hang on a minute[/I]…