Benny Profane

Trapdoor Swing/Dumb Luck Charm [Bonus Tracks]

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Collecting the band's two albums plus a couple of bonus tracks, the reissue of Trapdoor Swing and Dumb Luck Charm shows that Benny Profane was an enjoyable blast of rock & roll that wasn't too far removed from the origins of the group in the Room. The closest point of comparison was unsurprisingly in the vocals, given that Dave Jackson's oftentimes brilliantly strong singing was again at the core, while Becky Stringer continued holding things down on bass. Roping in Joe McKechnie from the collapse of the Passage, first on drums and then also on guitar, added to the strength of the group, and from the start of the disc, with the enjoyable rampage of "Man on the Sauce," Peter Baker's organ work adding an even more careening edge to the proceedings, it's clear that the Room's energy at its best hadn't been lost. Further standout songs include the surging roll of "A Handful of Nothing" (with some great cowboy yodels!), "Time Bomb," and "Beam Me Up." Jackson's detailed liner notes in the reissue cover so many reversals and out-of-their-hands missteps that it's almost surprising anything got released at all beyond a few singles, but the results are worth it and, vocals aside, are often much less country-tinged than either the band's initial start or the later work of Jackson and Stringer in the Dead Cowboys would indicate. That said, there's definite love in songs like the Morricone-style rumbling stomp and twang of "Pink Snow" and the fiddle-based arrangement of "Maureen," and if you're going to call a song "Quickdraw McGraw Meets Deadeye Dick," what more needs be said? The two bonus tracks on the reissue are enjoyable curios -- two of the band's first demos from August 1985, featuring none other than Echo & the Bunnymen's Will Sergeant on guitar.

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