I have to be honest and say that conventional electric blues has always left me cold. At one extreme indulgent guitar noodling topped and tailed by tried and tested song structures, at the other musicians singing about how tough they had it on the streets and a limo parked round the back of the venue. There has, however, been a wonderful re-invention of the genre in recent years by bands such as Bite The Buffalo, The Greasy Slicks and Blindman’s Bastion that has seen it blown apart with an infusion of garage band swagger, punk attitude and scuzzy re-invention. Now you can add Them Dead Beats to that list.
Like their contemporaries mentioned above, they have taken the heart of the genre, the mechanics and the soul of the music and injected it with a dose of steroids, speed and industrial strength lager to create a break away movement which, whilst tipping its hat to the music that gave it birth, expresses itself in much more muscular, ragged and raging terms.
Them Dead Beats are what might have happened if punk had originated in New Orleans in the fifties or if Robert Johnson had gone to a London art college in the mid seventies, a glorious glimpse of alternative history and a wonderful hybrid of genres, places and times. On the surface you could argue that it is hardly breaking new ground, but I disagree. It is not by storming barricades that change happens, it is by re-energising existing formats, by running genres headlong into each other and seeing what survives the fallout and also by not being too reverential about your chosen musical field. They say familiarity breeds contempt. Good!