Thee Alcoholics, (not to be confused with Tha Alkaholiks the party obsessed LA Hardcore hip-hop trio), are a London outfit formed by Rhys Llewellyn formerly of Hey Colossus and currently of DRMCNT, Acidliner and many others. The band have a string of releases to their name, the majority of which have been put out by Wrong Speed Records.
These are, 2020’s Thee Alcoholics, 2021’s Tape II, 2022’s Seven Inch, 2023’s Politicians, Kill Yourself 7” and the excellent Live At The Piper set which also came out in 2023 courtesy of Human Worth. Feedback, their first album on Rocket Recordings, is described in the accompanying promo notes as ‘Cranky and cantankerous yet lysergically aligned’. This sounds an ideal fit for Rocket Recordings considering all the weird and wonderful sounds that label have provided us with over the years.
Opening with squeals of feedback and showing that the album is aptly named, What’s The Crack? (What’s The Story?) is a rumbling moody piece with an ever-present threat of violence contained within it. The track has a post-punk/gothic-rock vibe that recalled bands such as Lotus Thrones and serves as a perfect scene setter.
The first preview single, Baby I’m Your Man, is an infectious, swaggering sleazy slab of disjointed punk blues ala Pussy Galore and Aussies The Scientists. This is undoubtedly one of the best songs ever recorded by the band and I look forward to hearing it performed live whenever they happen to find themselves in my neck of the woods, sooner rather than later hopefully.
Picture Ash Ra Temple were they to abandon the hash, acid and hippy noodling in favour of speed and real ale…
Sweetheart is a forty second blast of vicious hardcore punk goodness while It’s So Easy slows the tempo down to resemble something approaching the psychedelic chaos embraced by the likes of Loop, Spacemen 3 and with a nice dose of Stooges-esque garage rock. You can’t go wrong with those. Pity Me is far more doomy and drone laden than anything heard so far. The track typifies the album’s lysergic feel as hinted in the aforementioned promo notes, rendering the whole affair as something of a woozy experience that will leave you pleasantly disorientated.
The title track, Feedback, has something of a motorik sensibility to it, especially in the drums department which are relentlessly pounded. Picture Ash Ra Temple were they to abandon the hash, acid and hippy noodling in favour of speed and real ale. It may be spacey, but it has more of a streetwise attitude ala the Ladbrook Grove scene of the 1970s. Simply awesome. Sticking with the ‘70s, You’re The Zero goes to the end part of that decade and to San Francisco’s Chrome, with their brand of brilliantly demented and gnarly acid-punk/industrial rock. Tied with Baby I’m Your Man, this is a personal favourite.
SE23 is pure early Hawkwind style joy, the propulsive nature of the track reminding you of how vital an ingredient Lemmy was to that band and how they were never really the same once he left. Add in some Nik Turner style Sax towards the end and you have one hell of a sensational listen. Dumb & Happy concludes the album on a GNOD note and I was reminded of that band’s most recent output such as 2022’s Hexen Valley album. Relatively low-key but nonetheless one that felt necessary after what has been in totality a thrillingly abrasive listen.
Feedback demonstrates why everyone from Therapy?‘s Andy Cairns to Wrong Speed Records head Joe Thompson are waxing lyrical about Thee Alcoholics. The album could be loosely assigned the noise-rock genre tag, but it’s so much more, which is to its eternal credit.
Scribed by: Reza Mills