Remember when Man or Astro-Man? landed their spaceship deep in the Rhondda Valleys and got force-fed a diet of Welsh cliches which culminated in a rugby international day on the piss with fake tans, pink glittery cowboy hats and white stilettos? Nah, me neither, but that loon Jimmy Watkins probably did. You may know Jimmy from such bands as Future of the Left and Strange News from Another Star, or as an 800m finalist at the World Indoor Athletics Championship way back when. That weird juxtaposition of running and rock ‘n’ roll alone is more than enough to set us up for The Vega Bodegas’ debut album.
In a flurry of alien feedback, The Size is Wales opens the show. It’s jaunty and angular and err, very Welsh! Like, seriously Welsh in humour, spirit and delivery. Think of when Super Furry Animals asked God to show them magic. It’s a bombastic starter from outer space that paves the way for the following eight tracks of distorted vision and fucked-up lyrical joy. Just see “five lifetimes of pizza required” from the album’s title track as evidence.
The Money Ate The Monkey video has just been launched to promote the album and it’s a sensible offering to the wider world with it’s catchy as hell chorus full of pop and fizz. It’s no secret that Jimmy is a massive Supergrass fan and the influence shines throughout the verse. I should coco!
The band draw our attention to earthquakes on Magnitude 4.2 ahead of previous single Rupert Are You Ready? which is a melodic reminder of what The Vega Bodegas are capable of. If you remember when the so-called Cool Cymru scene flourished in the 90s, then this is track that wouldn’t have gone amiss on the Dial M for Merthyr compilation. The best lyric of the album has yet to be served though, and it deserves a paragraph all to itself. Ready?
“Fuck off. Carl Sagan in Greggs?”
I must apologise to the missus for the coffee I spat all over the wall on first hearing Trig. Actually, I’ll just send the band the bill to clean the woodchip. Extraterrestrial life forms in the UK’s most revered budget pasty chain? Makes sense when you stop and think about it. Rock ‘n’ roll hasn’t got to be all about moody black and white band photos; it can be colourful and The Vega Bodegas are positively luminous. With aliens, earthquakes and monkeys covered, it’s on to food with a 1-2 of Days of Meat and Porridge Doesn’t Fill Me Up. Don’t panic, there’s still time for another one and a half minutes of monkeys to conclude the album courtesy of Ten.
The Vega Bodegas once sang Welsh Music Prize. Whoever deals with that trophy should consider A Complete History of Witchcraft with its riot of lyrical bizarreness, musical awkwardness and general tomfoolery. I’m off to drop some acid. It’s the only way to keep up with Jimmy Watkins and the boys. Ginge Knievil
Check out The Vega Bodegas here