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Album: Your Majesty...We Are Here Volume One (1)
Artist: Earl Brutus
Released by: Deceptive Records
Release Date: September 1996
Genre: God knows, really. Alternative, Glam, Prog-Rock. Take your pick, could be anything.

Track Listing

  1. Navyhead
  2. I'm New
  3. Male Milk
  4. On Me But Not In Me
  5. Don't Leave Me Behind Mate
  6. Blind Date
  7. Black Speedway
  8. Motorola
  9. Shrunken Head
  10. Life's Too Long
  11. Karl Brutus
  12. Round and Round (?)
  13. Baby baby think of me (?)

At least that seems the order on my copy of the CD. It's slightly confusing as the CD itself (and all the other track listings I've found) show eleven tracks, but there are unquestionably thirteen tracks on the CD. I can only guess at what the titles of the additional tracks.

The title of the album is apparently a reference to the death of Freddie Mercury and I've read one theory that it's supposed to show the bands belief that they where the somehow the inheritors of Queen’s pomp-rock crown. Can't quite believe it myself; a band more unlike Queen would be hard to imagine.

I basically bought the album because I'd heard and loved the single Navyhead, with its guitar riff reminiscent of Alice Cooper's Schools Out and heavy drumming a la Rock and Roll Part Two. It has a nice raucous chorus of I'll never, ever see you again whilst the singer intones the words Three cheers for the navyhead. Of course, it's not entirely clear to me what the song is about, in fact it is never been entirely clear to me what any of the songs are about. The lyrics to Shrunken Head for example, go;

Teenage head on a stick
Is it reversible?
Is it a jacket?
I don't know
Shrunken head
Shrunken head etc

Which as far as I can see proves that the group operated in a different space-time continuum from the rest of us.

At the time I can remember being slightly disappointed that the rest of the album didn't sound like Navyhead; On Me But Not In Me owes a clear debt to Kraftwerk, Karl Brutus opens in the style of Suicide but it is not long before people start shouting and churning out guitar chords and singing Back to your Barratt houses (3). But I was taken by the final track which sounds like Lieutenant Pigeon (2) on acid, before stopping after four minutes, going silent for a couple of minutes, and then kicking in again with what appears to be a completely different song altogether.

Which gives the general picture of the Earl Brutus sound, loud, raucous, guitars, synthesisers, sing-along choruses, more influences than it possible to categorise or remember.

Having dug this album out of the bottom drawer of my CD cabinet, whilst searching from some strange and wonderful artefact to delight the rest of E2land, I naturally had to play the album few times. It's actually a lot better than I remembered; twiddly little instrumental pieces like Life's Too Long I can take or leave, but the rest of the album is an intense, complicated sometimes brutal piece of rock music that now somehow reminds me of the Manic Street Preachers' Holy Bible. (Make of that what you will.)

As far as I am aware the album has been deleted and is no longer available. However at http://stage.vitaminic.fr/main/earl_brutus/ you can hear the tracks Navyhead, Life's Too Long and Karl Brutus and even download an MP3 of Navyhead for free. (If my understanding of the French gratuit is correct.)

Some Notes

(1) To give the album its full title. There was no volume 2.

(2) Since the band later recorded a European Football Championship record under the name of Union Jackson featuring a cover of Mouldy Old Dough I do no think that the resemblance is accidental.

(3) Barratt - a British volume housebuilder.

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