Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Dennis Hopper Choppers - Be Ready

Former one-man-band goes spaghetti western and mariachi for 2nd album.

The debut album from Dennis Hopper Choppers, 2008's “Chop”, was a one-man-band affair, featuring Ben Nicholls playing drums, guitar, and organ simultaneously. For his second album, he's gathered up some pals to help achieve his new found sound.

The songs for this album came together from a writing session in the South of Spain, in the heartlands of where all the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns were filmed. And it's the soundtracks of those movies that pervade the feel of this whole album. The scene is set from the opening track “Good To Me” with its plaintive Tijuana trumpet and strings intro. Then there's the gunshot drums and reverbed tambourine of “Girl Walked Out Of Town”.

Nicholls' voice alternates between melodramatic Scott Walker croon, and weighty Johnny Cash-style storytelling. He has a nice line in melancholia too, best displayed over the baritone guitar twang backing of “Long Trip Home”, and the choir backed “Blue”. “Razor Gang” breaks the mould and veers away into a more dramatic Nick Cave territory.

There seems to be a resurgence of interest in all things spaghetti western at the moment. The forthcoming Dangermouse project “Rome” hits the shops soon too. This album would bookend it nicely. Darkly brooding mariachi vibes seen through a prism of London savviness.