Liverpool’s most provocative rock ‘n’ rollers are back with a bite on their latest single Sex, Getintothis’ Patrick Clarke takes a listen to the latest from the ever-affronting Sneaky Nixons.
“There’s always gonna be someone better than you. Unless you’re The Libertines,” said Sneaky Nixons firebrand Charlie Daniels in a rare moment of humility in our explosive interview with the band last year. It’s a notable coincidence then, given the frontman’s choice of idols, that both groups’ latest singles see them on a similar trajectory of offbeat, dub-hinting rock ‘n’ roll.
Yet where Pete and Carl‘s comeback track Gunga Din saw the reformed old-timers falling slightly flat on the debauched, emotive ferocity that made their early material so enticing (for some of us, at least), Sex, the Nixons‘ latest, could perhaps see them playing their heroes at their own game.
Propelling into shape with an attack of twisted trumpet, the group’s faultless rhythm section slip quickly into careening two-tone shape to tee up a demure lilt of scratching guitar, then ebbing back to a brief vocal showpiece that’s one half fucked-up delicacy, the other a suave smirk of degenerate intent.
As the foursome forbiddingly barge through deviant megaphone croons, a brief implosion of trumpet and guitar and occasional counterpoints of acoustic semi-tenderness, Daniels telling lecherous tales with a combative snarl, the accompanying video, which you can watch below, is no less restrained; a nihilistic juxtaposition of sex and (actual) slaughter.
If nothing else, the track’s a watermark of how far the group have come from the graffiti scrawls and scrappy, spat attacks of those pissed-up early days upstairs in The Pilgrim. The band’s laughably huge pronouncements of soon-to-be legendary status in our interview last autumn saw unparalleled outrage from a duly-baited public, yet what’s most satisfying, more so than the track itself (which, let’s face it, you’ll either like or you won’t), is that the backlash has had exactly the desired effect, to rile the community into noticing before the band seize their detractors’ vitriol for their own designs.
Since those days, the Nixons have seen the size and geographic range of theirs shows grow steadily, a determined cult following (and this one really is a cult) refuse to stop swelling and certain corners of the previously dismissive cliques of the live circuit begin to take notice. Like it or not (and a lot of you probably still won’t), it’s time to take The Sneaky Nixons seriously.