The Understairs

They strut their stuff like the West Country’s very own Peaky “Fucking” Blinders. Yesterday’s Sweetheart by The Understairs is an antidote to the bland, toneless crap squeezed out by mainstream media.

Shrug off the sofa and thrash out some old-school blues-rock, heart-breaking and brash as Rory Gallagher. Imagine Madchester Mancs, fighting pose – chest out arms back – screaming the piss out of middle England’s chummy chucklers. Picture leather miniskirts, shameless string vests, belt studs and a lipstick smudge where the mouth should be – “I’m staring at the rats and they’re staring back at me.” That’s The Understairs.

And there’s more.

Envisage 70’s punk a moment before euthanasia. Mix in pre-apocalyptic rhythm and blues before it was hijacked, pour in buckets of smog and grime and grit and drizzle – the kind that washes your face black and leaves a taste in your mouth of metal shavings, the swarf of a thousand filterless fags scrubbing your tonsils raw. Feel your lion heart branded by the hobnail sole of a southern pussy’s boot. And, just to be completely antagonistic, there’s rum and coke, a girl’s drink anywhere else but these boys toss it down with swagger and arrogance, a poetic performance on auto-repeat – drink, dance, spew, drink, dance, spew. It’s a portrait of Madchester manny, face down in a tenement lift, the doors opening and shutting, smacking his head for hours until he wakes. “Chemicals and alcohol, eyes like piss holes in the snow.” It was one hell of a night! Never forgotten, that’s The Understairs, and their lyrics take no prisoners.

Yesterday’s Sweetheart is the boy’s new EP. I’m saying nothing about the qualities of the song (listen for yourself!) except, that it’s real life, real music. Oh, and the production is more polished than previous releases but you would expect that from vintage rockers. For me, though the track ends way too soon. My advice for what it’s worth: prolong the groove, gradually bring bass and drums to the fore, and make the guitars squeal to orgasm. Make it a 12” boys! Be proud of your skills!

I want the music louder, a more vicious kick in the bollocks of those who would control us.

5 stars


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© Rod McRiven 2021

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