I don’t want to start this review by telling you that Pickled Dick sound like Greenday, because if you don’t like Greenday you’ll stop reading altogether and if you do like them, you might get all possessive about them and instantly write this band off as a copycat.
That said, this record is definitely inspired by the likes of ‘Dookie’, ‘Insomniac’, and ‘Nimrod’, with harmonies tighter than your girlfriends stripy tights. It also contains a collection of hooky pop punk songs that have lots in common with the lesser know tracks from those heady days of blue hair, American vocal twangs, and punk revival.
However, some subtle adjustments to the engine, a colourful re-spray, and a British badge on the bonnet do add something to this record, with gnarly semi-tone chord progressions, occasional group shouting and the odd moment where these chaps rock out.
‘Battleaxe’ is a good all rounder, sitting at the top of the disc and introducing all these things into the mix. After several thousand hooks, we’re already leaving the track behind and heading into the next one. The ‘na na na’ hookline and Pet Shop Boys inspired milk-bottle percussion of ‘Jungle Jam’ creates a song that’s not only endearing for it’s harmonies, but adds a touch of that excellent ‘something a bit different’, as does ‘Up And Away’ with it’s strong rock intro and anthemic chorus.
If Paul McCartney had ever completed his early nineties intention of a duet with Billy-Jo, ‘Swing’ may well have been the creation. The slightly cheesy bounce of Paul’s ‘Woke up, got out of bed’ bridge in ‘Day in the Life’ evidence a slight Beatlesy inspiration and the spikey guitars of ‘Longview’ divert things back stateside.
Special mention to ‘Salamander’, which is still in my head hours and hours later. This one really, really does work and is going to be a huge anthem live.
With fourteen songs in total, Pickled Dick have managed to squeeze in quite a lot of variety and substantial talent lies beneath the bubbly tunes, not least the vocal ability required to get all those words out clearly and tunefully in such a short space of time.
So is it punk-revival-revival, or more of a Greenday tribute? Either way, it’s a decent enough effort that’s well executed.