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CD REVIEW: BOB SPENCER – Saints + Murderers

| 2 May 2019 | Reply

CD REVIEW: BOB SPENCER – Saints + Murderers
October 2018
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

When sidemen go solo the results are not always an unmitigated success – sometimes even the best co-writer or musician can be an also-ran when the full glare of the spotlight hits them, Twenty Feet From Stardom style.

It’s with this in mind that we pressed play on Bob Spencer’s first ever solo album. An Oz rock legend, Spencer first made waves with his own band Finch, before joining Skyhooks for their last two albums, after the departure of Red Symons. A few years later he became one of The Angels at a crucial time and was with them through arguably their most commercially successful period. In between he’s never left the business, of course, playing mostly covers in a variety of outits, and most recently became a lauded member of the resurrected Rose Tattoo. Skyhooks, The Angels & Rose Tatts – no-one else I can recall has been a member of any three such seminal Aussie bands.

So the pedigree is there, but so is expectation. The great news is that Saints + Murderers hits its mark well.

Musically, Spencer’s skills are on smorgasbord-like show here – he’s written almost everything, plays guitar and takes the lead vocals as well as producer credit. Stylistically he covers all his bases with… well… style – and it’s a style you’ll not see from many.

Spencer is at his best when allowing his wry sense of humour to take the lead as on the hilarious and oh so familiar I Can’t Do That, My Wife Will Kill Me.

This is a musician’s album – but it’ll be lyrically accessible for those who aren’t as musical as its creator. Anyone who has seen Spencer’s Facebook page will know, for a start, that he is not one to tolerate narrow-mindedness or bigotry in any shape or form.

Maroubra, 1973, September, 3pm ruminates about schooldays over a complex chord change. Who Are These People echoes Dave Warner’s recent lyrical frustration with social media shenanigans. As White As Jesus reeks with anger about not being good enough, about hypocrisy, about holier than thou stupidity, and is as scathing as it is rocking. What Do You Think About That turns the flamethrower upon everyone sticking their nose into other people’s business.

That Spencer is some forty years into his musical career and this is his first solo album – and first attempt at singing, it should be added – is laudable enough. That it’s a damn fine repeated listen is the icing on the cake.

Category: CD Reviews

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