If some music is designed to be enjoyed whilst downing gallons of Vaux’s beer, other songs are best appreciated with a glass of red wine. These new recordings from Frankie Stubbs fall firmly into the latter category. Stripped back to basics, the four songs capture the raw essence of the man behind Leatherface. Featuring just acoustic guitars and Frankie’s immediately recognisable vocals you have three new songs and a reworking of the Leatherface song Shipyards. Opener I Liked Being a European offers a rare hint at politics – anecdotally I recently bumped into Frankie at Newcastle Airport, as he was flying out to Germany for a solo gig. The acoustic guitars reveal just how sophisticated his playing and song-writing is, with more than a nod to folk.
At times the volume is amplified when fellow former Leatherfacer Graeme accompanies with another guitar on two of the songs. If you remember Frankie’s vocals used to draw comparisons to Lemmy, the “gruffness” is toned right down on these songs and the overall effect is warming and fragile in equal amounts. I was a huge fan of the last Leatherface studio album, and the song-writing on this record offers a hints that it’s the direction that Frankie is now travelling in, albeit without the noise. Fans are going to absolutely love this. And rightly so. Tom Chapman
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