Oxford Point

Oxford Point

Five years on, [B]The Sweeney[/B] no longer care what we think about them. Perhaps it's time we started to care rather more.

You never know what’s coming next if you’re Murray Torkildsen. One day you’re storming the Peel Festive 50 with viciously life-affirming pop anthem ‘Why?’, the next you’re supplementing your living by playing guitar for [a]John Otway[/a] in front of crowds of worryingly drunk middle managers.

Murray is the singer/guitarist with Harlow’s underachieving The Sweeney. The name reeks of retro kitsch and suburban violence. Murray himself even looks like a slightly bent copper – the sort who gets things done his way.

Tonight The Sweeney are plugging their third, eponymous, album and it comes packed with their characteristically blunt market-town soul – stories of pathetic humanity, delivered with the sort of cheerily aggressive punch that characterised the pub rock underground that spawned punk. ‘White Trash’ is ‘Taxman’ slashed up a back alley at closing time, while ‘Billy The Human Bomb’ is the sound of a nowhere small town about to explode.

It’s all a bit geezerish at times but what stops The Sweeney becoming the Essex Carter USM is their lack of misanthropy, their genuine affection for the characters that make up their world. That and Murray‘s occasionally inspired songwriting talent. Five years on, The Sweeney no longer care what we think about them. Perhaps it’s time we started to care rather more.