One of the more refreshing aspects of the New Musical Express /ICA Rock Week and accompanying C86 cassette compilation was the Ron Johnson camp. This Manchester label threw up a handful of manic guitar acts whose shared sources appeared to be the Fall and Captain Beefheart. The Mackenzies were no exception. ‘Big Jim (There’s No Pubs In Heaven)’ on C86 started as a quirky thrash similar to the Fire Engines, then switched to militant jazz funk groove and back again. Similar ingredients were also found on ‘New Breed’ in April 1986 and the excellent ‘Mealy Mouths’ the following February. However, the Mackenzies failed to capitalize on these, and nothing was heard from them, apart from a remix of ‘Mealy Mouths’ exactly a year later, in February 1988.
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