Since their first gig supporting Paul Young’s Tex-Mex band Los Pacaminos, Bedford’s The Broadway Twisters have gigged pretty regularly tearing up stages from London’s 100 Club to Milton Keynes’ Craufurd Arms. Since the band’s inception fans have been salivating for a full length album and it’s finally arrived (after 8 long years) in the shape of South By South West 2.
Making up for lost time, opening salvo “Night Tripper” arrives with all guitars blazing and encapsulates all that’s great about The Broadway Twisters in two succinct minutes. From the chiming guitar to the thunderous drum via the slapped double bass “Night Tripper” is liberally garnished with tinkling keys and it all combines to deliver a classy slab of rock n’ roll. It’s brevity is its strength and whets the appetite for the following “Fender Car Disaster” which takes a more measured route. Cinematic in scope this is music designed to create strong mental images whilst simultaneously giving you a case of restless leg syndrome.
It’s obvious that both vocalist/guitarist Adrian Stranik and bassist Bill Mann are rock and roll obsessives who live inside of their songs which means they deliver an authentic brand of rockabilly, so much so that on hearing “You Give Me Nothing” you’d be excused for thinking you’ve time travelled back to Sun Studio circa 1953. But there’s also an original twist best exemplified on the surreal tale found within “Girl With A Gretsch”. The Far Eastern flourishes that pepper “The Madness of Suzuki Seijun” are topped with a lyrical astuteness that recalls W. H. Auden and Louis MacNeice and that’s just one of many juxtapositions which makes South West By South West 2 such an enjoyable romp.
The Twisters could rival Spinal Tap when it comes to the drum stool so a series of guest percussionists make an appearance yet the album hangs together well as a cohesive whole. Some songs don’t bear over analysis and all you can say about “Do You Remember The Future, Baby?” is that it’s a great, great, great song that should have all but the comatose and infirm on their feet. Like Elvis jamming with The Yardbirds “Probably North 10th Street” melds American Rockabilly with English Beat for a song that’s guaranteed to blow your tweeters.
“Any Dope Can Pull a Gun” is the musical equivalent of a suspect device that detonates and sends shards flying in every direction. “Crack Baby” is always a highlight of a Broadway Twisters live show and thankfully they’ve managed to transfer that magic to vinyl. It’s a genuinely eerie number that you might stumble upon whilst visiting an opium den in America’s Deep South. A high octane, amphetamine charged rendition of the Urban Voodoo Machine’s “Cheers for the Tears” caps an impressive album and ensures The Broadway Twisters depart as they arrived…in a blaze of sonic effervescence.
Debut albums rarely come as fully formed as the triumphant South By South West 2... but hopefully we won’t have to wait another 8 years for its follow up!