Pinky Beecroft has finally got control. Three years after Machine Gun Fellatio folded, he has a new band, a new album and a new direction, and he’s sounding better than he ever did. With the White Russians, he’s doing what he says he’s always wanted to do – fronting a ‘rockin’ little 4-piece’, and so far, he’s succeeding.
Pinky Beecroft and the White Russians’ debut album, Somethin’ Somewhere Better is remarkably simple sounding. In a massive shift away from the meticulously produced and layered sounds of MGF, this album is back to basics, and has a real live feel to it. There’s definitely no studio trickery going on, and it’s a testament to the band’s talent that it sounds so good.
After an ode to Scarlett Johansson (Scarlett), there is the first of two ‘re-imagined’ MGF tracks, I Will Tear It Down To Make You Happy, which was once Just B’Coz from 2002’s Paging Mr Strike. Just like the new organ-filled Unsent Letter, it’s radically different to the original, and benefits from the new energy that has been injected, as well as the more loose arrangement. This is followed by This Song Has Only Got Happy Words (“This song was written by ladybirds”), which immediately brings to mind Positive Song from MGF On Ice, but where that was somewhat ironic and not at all what it claimed to be, this is much cheerier, and guaranteed to be a live favourite.
The White Russians are a band who are able to jump from one style into another – from the near-seven minute epic Sunflowers to the pub-rock Real Good Time (first heard as part of Beecroft’s ‘PK Spaceship’ project) and the gentle ballad of Floor. But the most obvious shift is the hard-driving This Hangover, which I’m not sure is a convincing argument for Pinky as a rock god, but is still fun nonetheless.
Following a sparsely instrumented cover of Blondie’s Call Me (I’m pretty sure I hear a saucepan along with the glockenspiel in there), album closer My Haircut Will Come Back Around is something of a reassertion of Beecroft’s place in the music scene – “it won’t be too long ’til you’ll be seeing me on the rise again”.
Somethin’ Somewhere Better is a seriously good album. Pinky’s writing is just as good, if better, than it ever was, especially now he has a real chance to showcase it without being overshadowed by theatrics, and the band is an incredibly talented bunch of guys. After listening to it for a few days now, I’m finding myself singing along to most of the tracks and hearing new details that I’ve previously missed. For all the references I’ve made to his previous band, this is a new start for Beecroft, and really, it can’t be summed up much better than by the man himself – he’s on the rise again.
Pinky Beecroft & The White Russians debut album Somethin’ Somewhere Better is released through Gigpiglet/Inertia, available in stores August 23.