Scouse guitar band who sound nothing like The La’s. Great!
First of all: great name. Well, great name if you read it as the ’60s being dead – which they are and have been for 36 years – rather than the band actually sounding dead ’60s, which they don’t. Truthfully, I love a jangly guitar as much, if not a great deal more, than the next man, but, please, can we all just leave The Beatles and The La’s and The Beach Boys alone for a while now and start trying to get our musical milk teeth round something a little more, y’know, chewy?
Well, we can in the company of The Dead 60s. The product of two rival Liverpudlian school bands, they, like Hard-Fi and, um, millions of other people, grew up in indentikit, booze-sodden small towns and, having looked at the options open to them became suitably appalled and retreated to their family homes, where the reggae and punk albums they found spoke to a sense of unease and discontent that no amount of tinted, rectangular shades, songs about “loov” or, god forbid, made-up sea shanties, could possibly remove. When their first two super-powered ska-pop singles ( ‘You’re Not The Law’ and ‘Riot Radio’) proved the eight months they claim to have spent “learning to play like The Wailers” weren’t wasted, the anticipation surrounding their debut grew like something that grows really fast. Especially after they pulled the album in June to improve it.
When you’re done with the straight studio album – and the brilliantly taut, pointed dynamism (think very early Cure, Specials and ‘Return Of Django’-era Lee Perry) of ‘Ghostfaced Killer’, ‘The Last Resort’ and ‘Train To Nowhere’ will undoubtedly keep you locked in for a while – you’ll want to try the dub version that comes free in the limited-edition release. Yes, the dub version. Of the whole thing, done in proper, late-’70s, flying faders, Mad Professor-style (not “stylee” no, that would be silly). Now, you’ve got to have some serious confidence in your songs to strip them down until you can watch each and every tendon pulsate on the bone, but The Dead 60s’ songs
never fail them. On ‘D-60 Fights The Evil Force’ the whole band sound like they’re strung between wires, like each booming kick of the drum or trebly slice of guitar will knock everyone else off kilter. But they never lose focus, never drop the ball. And not a pair of laughable granny glasses or an acoustic guitar in sight. Thank you, Dead 60s. Really, thank you.