Long Live The Ripps
Laughing inanely at a situation is always advisable, particularly when everyone around you is frowning disappointingly and concerned with the serious business of being serious. While the world contemplates its destruction and Coldplay can sing about depressions tender, the attraction of the other side of the coin is in The Ripps who mock pretty much everything and strut indiscriminately over a world that dodges the cracks in the pavement.
Their debut showpiece 'Long Live The Ripps' is full to bursting with rebellious lyrics and loose jaw, slurring vocals; you've heard it all before in the typical 70s punk, Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks kinda' vein. These days though, taking up the lyrically brain-dead 'fuck you' mantle is treading a very dangerous tight-rope. It's not the same generation; we don't protest about the closing of the mines anymore. If The Ripps made an album at all serious about itself, it would be critically slated, and the band make quite a palaver deciding which side of the dreaded fence to fall. Hypocrite' (the chorus - "you're a hypocrite") sounds like an absolute disgrace of a song, but with tongue firmly in cheek like on 'COV Song' with "get your hair cut mate or I'll bottle ya'" there's a remotely hilarious tilt, like someone making a threat and knowing full well they ain't hard.
Unfortunately, 'Loco' isn't really the great single to launch The Ripps best foot forward. It doesn't even mean anything, but more importantly there are much stronger tracks like 'You Don't Even Care' and 'Bad Influence' that don't have to compensate any classic spits of vulgarity for a decent tune. Most of the highlights are simply an amusing listen, but there are quite a few, and at least by the second half of the album, it's something worth paying attention to.
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.