Guttercat & the Milkmen - "Ballad of a Drunk Man" & "Lonely Tears In the Dark" Singles

Life is full of necessary evils. Take the final resting place of the Lizard King, Jim Morrison as a prime example. Fans travel from every corner of this planet to pay their respects to the late frontman of The Doors at the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France. Choking back tears, placing hand written song lyrics and personal pieces of poetry in silent tribute, all the time being watched by a security guard who is no doubt counting down the minutes until he can knock off. I know, I've seen it with my own bloodshot eyes. Sometimes this necessity for the unwelcome comes into play when writing music reviews. Sometimes a band namechecks simply the coolest and classiest of bands as major influences, almost making the reviewer want to like them before even hearing them. But wanting to be like these bands and actually pulling it off is a tall order and this brings me to Guttercat & The Milkmen.

Luxuriously named and impeccably influenced, the French band cite as their influences The Only Ones, New York Dolls, The Dogs D'Amour, The Faces, Rolling Stones, Hanoi Rocks, Lords Of The New Church, The Stooges, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Black Crowes, Georgia Satellites, Mott The Hoople to name but a few. Now these bands would surely form the dream festival line-up for streetwalkin' cheetahs and goddesses from the gutter the whole wicked world over. But what these milkmen lack is that spark, that nailbomb of invention, ingenuity that these bona fide legends possessed. It's a little like a Sunday league footballer watching his Cruyff, Maradona, Platini tapes before going out on the park and being, frankly, a little bit rubbish. Willing? Yes. Gifted? No. It is a case of monkey see but can monkey do?

So, what we have under the music microscope today are a pair of singles, the lead tracks of which were previously reviewed on Glitzine in demo form. The first single should be called the 'Jackie, Blue Jeans & My Guy' EP due to the fact that the song titles - 'Lonely Tears In The Dark' and 'Love Is Better In A Dream' - sound just like the cheesy titles of the photo-stories worshipped and wept over by many a teenage girl in the 1980's. The first track is worthwhile and would love to be a Hanoi tune but is, in reality, about two thousand steps from the move. The latter opens with a bass line that is just a little too under the bridge, before plodding along in a decidedly 60's fashion. The other single is wrapped in Tyla-esque cover art and the Wolverhampton wanderer would surely turn in his graveyard of empty bottles upon hearing the basic Dogs wannabe stylings of 'Ballad Of A Drunk Man'. Final track 'Rock N Roll Lingers' bizarrely sounds like a Sister Morphine rehearsal tape - the difference being that was twenty years ago and lowslung 'n' lonely geetar boy "Lloyd Owen James" was just seventeen years of age. Actually, this track is the only one of the four to offer up any kind of hook, with the ghost of a certain Mr M. Monroe appearing to haunt the chorus.

Guttercat & The Milkmen are a basic bar room rock 'n' roll band who seem to have found their level. They should be happy with getting some music published and playing some decent gigs. Anything else - including great reviews - would appear to be out of their range. They are inoffensive but a little colourless, lacking the creative broad strokes of their heroes. Also, one of the band members looks like James Garner. I find that strangely cool and I don't know why.

by Gaz E.

Visit the Guttercat & the Milkmen Website