Mickey Hampshire

Silently by Night

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Germany's Little Teddy Recordings re-released this 1998 disc in 2002. Billy Childish had left as the frontman of the Masonics, opening the door for Mickey Hampshire to join the group. On this disc, the Masonics (with their new frontman) created a revival of '60s-era garage pop. The title track kicks off the disc with a devilishly catchy series of hooks and Hampshire's lead vocals joining forces to create an almost out-of-control opening track. The backing vocal "group" the Wingnuts shines on the fourth track, "Tell Me (What You're Hiding From Me)." Bruce Brand's drum work is solid throughout the disc, while Liam Watson's energetic bass guitar holds it all together. Brand adds organ to some of the tracks. "I Won't Be Back" might best illustrate the trio's steady and calculated approach to vigorous and blues-based rock. That song is followed by "Bad or Evil," one of the album's slower tracks. "I'll Always" is reminiscent of Gary Young's manic vocals on his Hospital album. "The Cutter" is a jangly surf rock instrumental, while "Don't Torture Me" is one of the disc's grittiest tracks, completed by Hampshire's mumbled vocals. "Mumbo Jumbo" concludes the vinyl version of the album with some of the catchiest guitar work of the collection, with the vocals and instruments giving the Strokes inspiration a few years before they turned heads with their own Masonics-style of garage rock. Akin to Thee Headcoatees, the Masonics nearly perfected garage pop before the White Stripes ever picked up their instruments. The CD version includes three bonus tracks: "Good or Bad" is a majestic ode to relationships gone wrong, while "Don't Complain" is a reserved organ-rich ballad. The disc ends with the frenetic "Creature Called Doubt." Silently by Night was recorded at Toe Rag Studios in London.