Filthy Thieving Bastards - A Melody of Retreads and Broke (Cover Artwork)

Filthy Thieving Bastards

A Melody of Retreads and Broke (2001)


Johnny Bonnel and Darius Koski are at it again, this time with Spike Slawson on bass. Their second album, MRBQ isn't a lot different from Our Fathers Sent Us, with a few exceptions, the first and most obvious is that the lineup has changed.

Although MRBQ doesn't hold the emotional weight of its predecessor, it makes up for it by possessing more complex compositions. Though there are some songs that bear a few Swingin' Utters trademarks, the most remarkable thing about this album is that it successfully casts off a lot of components that make the Swingin' Utters the band they are. The addition of the steel guitar has an immense affect on the sound, in that it places the band closer to a Greg Leisz project than it does to the Pogues. Still, Johnny Bonnel's lyrics possess their typically astute flavor of desolation, this time with a little irony (e.g. "Counterfeit Cassius Clay"). The hardcore fan will get a long awaited taste of Darius's classical training that's always talked about, as he takes up the violin on a number of tracks; he shines in "Aberfan", a slow tempo song about the world's detriments caused by human desires. Other highlights include "Gene and Jean" and "Trolly's Sum."

I can't see this album holding up for the casual listener, but for the devoted Swingin' Utters fan, it is a must have. My only complaint is that the vinyl doesn't come with a lyric sheet. Musically, MRBQ is a great effort. Now if only they'd play live...