Review: Disgraceland ‘Tweed’ EP

It was a sad day ay when former Shaman faves Grifter, the gritty blues rock trio from Devon UK, called time on a career that saw them responsible for two albums, several EPs and a couple of split releases, as well as playing the Bloodstock Open Air festival and travelling the length and breadth of the country. However, out of the ashes would arise the snotty blues punk/rockabilly smash up of Disgraceland.

Disgraceland 'Tweed' EP Artwork
Disgraceland ‘Tweed’ EP Artwork

Front man Ollie (guitar and vocals) and drummer Foz were joined by bassist Chris (Drivechain/Fatty Chan/Toxic Shock Syndrome) to form a seasoned crew determined to kick back, play rock and roll and have a good time whilst doing it.

Having released four EPs in true DIY fashion since their formation in 2018, they have set out to take their firebrand live act out on the road and now the close of 2023 sees them back with five more tracks of attitude-laced belligerence in the form of their latest EP Tweed (a sign of the band’s tongue-in-cheek humour and a band member’s sartorial predilections). In true fashion, the whole thing clocks at a whooping fifteen minutes, meaning that this short sharp shock is perfect to throw on at any given moment, hell it’s even perfect for my commute to the office. And I work from home.

The new batch of tunes represents the strongest material they have committed to recording, marking the progression of their writing and the myriad of influences that the band members display. That heritage has seen them play nearly every ‘shit-hole venue up and down the country’ and they have a combined age of musical experience that would see them qualify for a UK state pension, despite the best efforts of the incumbent Tori government.

Kicking off with Porkrind, a social comment of the often unpleasant side effect of jingoistic, fervent and toxic nationalism that has swept the UK in the last few years, the rumbling bass leads the charge on a blues boogie that breaks out a Dead Kennedy style chug and outstanding rock and roll swing.

Opening with some classic rock-esque drumming that leads to a rockabilly oi style two-step groove complete with old-school Ramones like ‘Hey’s’, Do Better keeps up the tempo and gritty playfulness that is a staple of the band. This comment on the rampant misogyny in today’s world is complete with breakdowns for the urgent pulse of the verse’s huge chorus with falsetto-style backing vocals.

blues boogie that breaks out a Dead Kennedy style chug and outstanding rock and roll swing…

Thinner begins with a canter that almost harks back to an NWOBHM riff that promptly falls off a cliff into a rush of a swinging chorus and effect-driven solo. This bullish take on stress and anxiety works around deft lyrical twists and a gang-style chorus.

The relationship themed Whatcha Gonna Do shows again Disgraceland’s legacy for understanding the art of the simple catchy riff as evidenced by the loaded harmonies and a pumping beat. This track most of all recalls a quote Ollie gave me in an interview years ago that rock music should ‘make women shake their asses and dudes bang their heads’.

The snarling, expletive-riddled sprint to the finish that is Piss Teeth deals with the subject of bullying and smashes by in a furious buzzsaw staccato blur to end the EP in breathless fashion.

Disgraceland may be built on an ethos of playing what they want, for themselves, but there is no doubt the trio brings a rich musical education that could include names like Reverend Horton Heat, Butthole Surfers, Melvins and Mudhoney to add to their punk and rockabilly roots.

If that sounds like something that tickles your phlegm-drenched fancy, their Bandcamp page is a veritable gold mine and Tweed is a prized nugget.

Label: Independent
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden