Long Live The Judex – The Judex (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There are some things in this world that I can’t really do without. I don’t want to envisage a world without coffee in it and I certainly don’t want to live in one that doesn’t have cheese. The world is a better place for Victoria Coren-Mitchell and old Waterboys albums, China Mieville novels and Marx Brothers movies, comfortable sofas and bottles of Shiraz. And I certainly wouldn’t want to live in a world which doesn’t have The Judex in it!

Which is why, after a slight hiatus, one fuelled by the usual “musical differences”…musician speak for “if I have to go into the rehearsal room with that guy again then someone is going to need an ambulance” … the more discerning musical community, in which I include myself, is breathing a collective sigh of relief to find new music from a re-jigged Judex line-up hitting the streets. 

And as Be Mine comes roaring out of the speakers, as El Flyin’s low-slung, raw guitar-work, as Nick Stance’s depth-charge bass rumbles on relentlessly, as the punkabilly beats get threaded through the four-four devastation, as Will Byron’s amphetamine-Elvis vocals bark out a call to arms for like-minded sonic groovers, you realise that the world has just got a whole lot better. Okay, it might be going to hell in a hand basket in any direction you care to look in, the news coverage seems to have been written by J G Ballad on a day when he was feeling particularly belligerent but at least we have a new sound track to dance to as the world ends. (That’s a bit dramatic, sorry.)

But the point being is this. Great music always takes the edge off things, gives you a place to hide away from the madness and machinations of the powers that be. Music might not change THEE world but it might change YOUR personal world-bubble…at least for a while. Long Live The Judex does exactly that. And as always, even through they have always nailed their colours proudly to a rock and roll mast, they still find places to take their sound.

Summer Never Ends is a stomping spiral of raucousness, a living-in-the-moment anthem to oblivion and Sweet Hatchback is a punk-blues parody of a 50’s pop serenade, so much so that you can envisage the band occasionally dragging a comb through their collective quiffs as they sneer into the middle distance and flick dust off of their letterman jackets. Though the Devil only knows what fraternity they would have been members of, one with the motto “Go Fuck Yourself,” presumably!

Affair of The Poisons feels like The Judex of old, not that there is anything wrong with the new, 2020 sonic vision, but here there is the intensity and sonic sucker-punch which I fell in love with first time around…still, its early days and as a mission statement for the current quest, as a calling card for the sonic shape of things to come, it is an intriguing prospect and that’s more than enough for now. Harbor Moan wraps things up, a lilting leviathan, an unstoppable slow-groover, a relentless riot of low-end bass boogie, jagged-edged guitars and tribal beats courtesy of the man known only as Alex. Maybe I spoke too soon about the whole intensity thing, you could sell this song to the construction industry and use it to level whole blocks for redevelopment.

New musical beginnings are always difficult but thankfully hooking up with members of Lonesome Kings and The Heathen Troubadours is just the shot in the arm that Wiz, that’s Lord Byron to you, needed to keep everything rollin’ and a tumblin’ in the right direction. And if this is the first time out with the new musical vehicle, one which sees them spinning impressive musical donuts in the parking lot, burning rubber and generally annoying the neighbours…to use my over-used, go-to analogy….imagine what they are going to sound like when they really open this baby up!

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