The 22-20s - 22-20s

Singularly designed to steal your girlfriend.

 

 

I've waited a long time for this. I first saw the 22-20s in Germany, playing an opening slot at the Hurricane festival in 2003. Kicking off a day's line up at a festival is the worst spot for anybody. For starters, there's never that many people there and secondly, most of them aren't that interested in watching anything at 11am. Considering the time slot and the fact that the band had only been together for less than a year at that point, the 22-20s were bloody class that day and I've been waiting to get my hands on this album ever since. Thankfully it's been worth the wait.

 

They may be a trio in only the marketing sense (there's a silent but strangely visible fourth member) that hail from God Knows Where in England (otherwise known as Lincoln), with bum fluff for facial hair and well worn leather jackets on their backs but they are cooler than Top Cat and their album is bloody fabulous. First out of the bag is Devil In Me, which is so fucking full of itself it doesn't so much take you by surprise as jump out of the stereo, ransack your living room and plant a big hefty kick to your swingers before you've had chance to take breath. Coming on like demented sons of the Allman Bros Band the 22-20's play blues rock of a happy, smiley, testosterone fuelled variety. Such A Fool is more of the same; fast, pounding drums and scintillating, mangled guitar solos. You'll love it.

 

To start with the cover is rather nice, even if it is as glossy as a men's lifestyle mag, but inside it are a set of songs that start off raw and exciting and get sleazier and seedier as the album continues. It's a fascinating listen.

 

Baby Brings Bad News is so goddamn loose and sexy it seems singularly designed to steal your girlfriend; it may be the blues, but it's hot, horny blues with a rampant sex drive and if that doesn't work, then 22 Days certainly will. Containing the type of riff that Angus Young would get a hard on from it bangs and clatters its way through an exhilarating 2 minutes and 55 seconds. Friends drops the blues for a moment and heads off into early Dylan territory, as if just to prove they've got more than one trick up their sleeve. It's a great little ballad that contains some mesmerising slide guitar floating around in the background and would make a great end to side 1, if there were such a thing on cd.

 

Side 2 ('cause we like such things) is where it gets all hot and sweaty. Why Don't You Do It For Me? has the type of petulant, bitchy lyric that only young men could come up with, but it bounces along with enough tub-thumping drums and frantic guitars for you to forgive it entirely. Shoot Your Gun may stray into what can only be called Mansun territory, but it's the good part of Mansun territory so you needn't worry. The Things That Lovers Do lowers the tempo and sounds like it was created in a New York Loft Apartment owned by Andy Warhol. Very Velvets, very good. I'm The One gives those tubs a good thumping once again and it'll bring more than a smile to your face; it's on a level with the Zutons' Pressure Point for thrills. Finally you get Hold On, which takes the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club down a dark alley and kicks seven tons of shite out of them. Greasier and sleazier than a pair of biker's jeans, this throbs, grinds and sways its way through five minutes of fuzzed out, caustic guitar noise. It's a marvellous closer.

 

The 22-20s take their inspiration from people like Muddy Waters and Screaming Jay Hawkins, but their roots lie in a sexually frustrated, adolescent England. The mixture is fascinating. Martin Trimble has a voice that works wonders, whether it be in Dylan, Reed or Allman mode and I reckon he could pull a woman from 50 yards with it. All in all, what we have here is an album that is far better than anyone would have expected from three (+1) young lads from Lincoln. They are, in a nutshell, cool as fuck.