Memories From a Shithole - Whodunit (Beast Records)
This Parisian band brags they’ve been “playing garage-blues-punk since 2003” and that’s no mean feat in a city where rock and roll gets simultaneously downtrodden by dance music and high culture.
Two more things in their favour is that they’re on Beast Records, a well-established home for music that flies a ragged freak flag, and “Memories From a Shithole” was produced by expat Detroiter Jim Diamond, the ex-Dirtbombs bassist and sonic master now spending much of his work-time in Montpellier. His credits include the Bellrays, the Fleshtones and the White Stripes so he’s qualified to make this sort of noise.
Whodunit aren’t your standard ‘60s acid punk rehash or two-chord crash-er-rama thrash artists. They don’t play second-rate Serge lounge tunes or bother trying to de-construct the blues. They just go for broke.
Importantly, however, there’s a swing in the engine room that sets them apart from many bands of their ilk, and keyboards resonate and jelly-roll through many of this baker’s dozen (that’d be 13) of songs.
Didier Whodunit (all band members except guest keyboardist J-B share the surname) has a blues shouter’s voice with a cool, burred French accent (probably because he’s from France) and howls like he’s on day release with the clock ticking down.
Didier and Tom’s guitars grind and squeal like a pair of randy ferrets at mating time. Greasy harmonica from Tom adds a sleazy feel. The songs aren’t half bad, either.
“Room 204” is frantic without being forced, while “Waiting” locks into a muscular groove before punching out an Alpha male chorus. There are not sweet and tender tunes to be had here. “Redrum” (apparently a French cover) is propelled by razor-wire guitars, tightly wound around each other.
Damned if I know what “You Fuck My Wine” is about even if it’s sung, like all the songs, in English. Diamond himself lends a hand on bass on this one. Then there’s the raucous sing-along of “Because You’re Mine” and the staccato attack of the Who-like “Salvation”.
It’s album number-four from Whodunit and it’s good enough to spark some frantic back-catalogue tracking. You, too, can do some exploring here and hit up Beast Records here if you want a physical copy.