THE LON CHANEY 5 - THE HOWLING REVOLUTION EP
Back in the late 1970's the only way you could hear about bands, other than seeing them live, was either on the John Peel show or in the weekly music papers. So I spent my formative years trawling over small ads in the back of the NME, Sounds or Melody Maker marvelling at the array of bands that had been spawned by the punk explosion. Many times I ordered singles, never having heard the band, just because they had some weird and wonderful name that grabbed my attention. Thereby I fell in love with tracks by the Art Attacks, Slaughter & the Dogs, Radiators from Space and Television Personalities. So it was a given that, even after all these decades, when a band called THE LON CHANEY 5 appears on the scene I'm going to sit up and take notice.
Hailing from Cardiff they describe their sound as "Punk and Roll" as they attempt to transport the raw grit of Chuck Berry into the electric energy of the late 70s punk scene. The bands line up presently consists of Tony Fleming (guitar, lead vocals), Gavin Davis (bass), Ryan Griffiths (guitar), Dave Evans (Drums) and John Perry (Trumpet). I appreciate the presence of a trumpet player might suggest they sound like any other ska band, but this is far from the truth. In fact, whilst they turn a hybrid mix of ska, punk, rock and reggae into dance infectious songs, these lads also want to get over some serious messages in their songs.
"Ebola Rock'n'Rolla" continuous on a political theme, relating the frankly criminal activity of big pharmaceutical companies in ensuring the continuation of artificially high medication prices. Complete with Link Wray guitars, the band are not shy in giving Glaxo and Co a bloody nose:
Say they've found a miracle cure
And they've got a cure for cancer
I think by now you're getting the picture that, whilst their songs will definitely make you move your feet, the band also want to get your brain cells active as well.
Collateral damage is a heinous term
The time has come for a revolution
A Specials, Rico-like, trumpet solo and meandering bass line backdrops the tale of a Friday night out in the Cardiff badlands of Splott in "Gangsters Molls". A DJ from "Barrybados" is only one part of a night that descends into carnage and chaos.
Final track "Rock'n'Roll Cliché" ends the EP with a punk rock boot in the balls. Recalling the bands that changed a musical landscape in the late 70's, the Sex Pistols, Damned, Angelic Upstarts and Ruts all get a name check. Indeed they borrow a section of the "Pretty Vacant" for the middle section and end with a "Tommy Gun" drum flourish.
So, a promising start from a band that is gaining a reputation on the South Wales music scene for delivering tight, raucous live performances of "Punk and Roll" music. Whilst most groups nowadays have been neutered in an attempt to get commercial success, it is refreshing to still see a band that is prepared to have an opinion and say it like it is. So, if you like your music with a social conscience, you can do worse that download this EP (available now from i-tunes, Deezer, Spotify or Apple Music).