Frankly, Britain does not have to look over to Detroit for their dose of garage punk that’s sending the musical trend-followers into a much-hyped frenzy. For 25 years, a certain cult legend has operated under the media radar, self-financed his own independent releases, published 30 collections of poetry, written two books and exhibited more than 2000 of his paintings. He’s a poet, a painter, a punk rocker that influenced people from Kylie Minogue to Kurt Cobain to Jack White. And he’s none other Billy Childish.
Responsible for now-defunct underground bands like Thee Headcoats, The Mighty Ceasars, and The Milkshakes, Billy Childish returns with his 100th release “Steady The Buffs” with his new three-piece The Buff Medways (who debuted last year with their first LP “This Is This”) on Graham Coxon’s label, Transcopic.
Considering the fact that it’s Billy’s 100th release and yet, none of the stripped down garage spark has been lost, “Steady The Buffs” is an instant classic rock ‘n’ roll album without a doubt. Unpolished with an honest simplicity, it’s impossible to resist the infectious immediacy emitted by less-than-three-minute stompers like “Troubled Mind,” “Dawn Said,” “Vanessa Does Flavours” and “Archive From 1959.” Humor is not absent too. The Edwardian-clad, moustache-donning Billy delivers the implicating working blues with exaggerated theatrics on “Times Up,” hollers “you piss me off” on the second last track “You Piss Me Off” only to rectify the problem with “Ivor” — their interpretation of the “You Are Forgiven” verse from The Who’s “A Quick One While He’s Away” — on the last. Sure does sound like Billy’s having more fun than the listeners on the record!
The current trend of back-to-basics rock ‘n’ roll and The White Stripes plug might levitate Billy Childish and The Buff Medways a step higher from the underground, but it will always be the raw and powerful music that will see Billy Childish into another 25 years and perhaps, another 100 releases.