Share MICK WIGFALL AND THE TOXICS - Mick Wigfall and The Toxics (self released)
If English-born and French-based Mick Wigfall isn't the illegitimate son of Jesse Hector then I'm an ABBA fan. If you don't know who Mr Hector is - shame. We'll explain.

Jesse was a born-out-of-time rocker with a Hendrix fixation who fronted proto-punkers Crushed Butler and the Hammersmith Gorillas in London. Post-punk, Jesse rowed his pub rock boat against the prevailing tide in and only called it a day in the 2000s. Journeyman Mick Wigfall doesn't have Hector's mutton chop sideburns and takes a rockabilly fork in the path but attacks his music in much the same way.

He's no one-man band, however. The Toxics are a power trio in every sense of the term, laying down a rhythm bed with genuine swing with their frontman firing chunky guitar chords over the top. Wigfall sure has convincing pipes. The 16 songs are a couple of originals and a big-arsed bunch cover songs - some of them surprising choices.

Gene Vincent's "Poor Man's Prison" won't come as a shock but Tom Waits' "Big In Japan" might. It's raw and swampy lo-fi blues that's not entirely representative of the rest of the album sound. Eddie Cochran lives on in the Toxics' version of "Nervous Breakdown". Wigfall and his mates "own" that one too, as surely as they deftly charge through "I Ain't Got You." There's nothing wrong with their appropriation of Marc Bolan's "Born To Boogie" either.

Just when you've pegged these guys as clever revivalists, they throw in Jonathan Richman's "Egyptian Reggae." It's faithfully done but sounds like a quick diversion. Their take on Dr Feelgood's "Drives Me Wild", on the other hand, leaves the original for dead. The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks" is the album opener and you can't help but think the owners of that one would approve.

"She's Too Much For Me" is one of the few originals and makes you wonder why the band didn't record a few more. It's a bristling rocker that doesn't wear out its welcome over its two-plus minutes. There are shades of Hipbone Slim and The Kneetremblers - and that's no bad thing.

In the end, "Mick Wigfall and The Toxics" is one helluva attention-getter that should leave you wanting more.You might want the "more" to be the band's own songs but this will do for now. - The Barman


 

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