Jazzateers - Jazzateers
Re-release of 1983 debut from Glasgow band with rock’n’roll swagger and sass aplenty
When the decidedly non-jazz Jazzateers reformed to play a double bill with Vic Godard reviving his 1980s swing-based set at Glasgow International (yes) Jazz Festival in June this year, it shed some light on one of the great missing links of the original ‘Sound of Young Scotland’ based around their manager Alan Horne's label, Postcard Records. This re-release of the band's eponymous 1983 album, which originally appeared on what was becoming an increasingly pop-based Rough Trade about to unleash The Smiths into the world, is even more overdue.
The line-up that appears here features guitarist Ian Burgoyne, bassist Keith Band and drummer Colin Auld, who founded the band in 1980 with vocalist Alison Gourlay, before future Bourgie Bourgie crooner Paul Quinn took over. Main singer here, however, in the band's third incarnation, is Grahame Skinner, who would go on to front glossy white soul combo Hipsway, at a time when every designer lager TV ad under the sun was being soundtracked by Scottish bands.
Contrary to their jangular roots, then, from the opening sounds of a match striking, this incarnation of Jazzateers is hanging tough. If Rough Trade boss Geoff Travis was as miffed as reported by the move away from indie-pop, one wonders whether his former signings were at the back of his mind when he signed The Strokes, because this is pretty much what sneering, snot-nosed opener 'Nothing at All' sounds like a template of.
The CBGBisms continue on 'Looking for a Girl,' before a few moments of pure Postcard archness creep in on 'Show Me the Door' by way of the country twang of 'Heartbeat' and the not-quite-Chic of ‘Once More with Feeling’. Not that there's anything which sounds remotely naïve here. There's rock’n’roll swagger and sass aplenty on 'Texan' by way of the Bowie-esque 'First Blood' and the rockabilly-styled 'Baby That's a No No'. The only truly contrary moment comes on the closing, slicked-back drawl of 'Something to Prove' because, as everything before it proves, Jazzateers had already done that in spades.