Review of The Peth's album The Golden Mile released through Strangetown Records.
Dogstar, Thirty Odd Foot Of Grunts and Thunderbox might not be familiar names on the music circuit, and having had the unfortunate displeasure of hearing their material, rightly so. However, upon closer examination, certain band members of each had already achieved worldwide fame in celluloid prior to embarking on 'the musical side project', hence the reason that the aforementioned trio, featuring Keanu Reeves, Russell Crowe and Steven Siegal respectively, received a modicum of attention in the first place when quite frankly there are better bands playing Oasis covers on a Wednesday night in the Old Brown Cow, Mansfield. Actors in bands then, is pretty much a no-no, and although Jared Leto and Juliette Lewis will no doubt argue the toss in favour, it still doesn't alter the fact that their first and foremost area of concentration surely must focus on the day job.
Not in the eyes of sometime-actor but now more famous in the tabloid press for being Sienna Miller's ex, Rhys Ifans it clearly isn't. If starring alongside Hugh Grant in 'Notting Hill' almost a decade ago represents the pinnacle - or at least the first time anyone took him seriously - of his on-screen career, then Ifans has obviously reached midlife crisis point in more ways than one. Granted, The Peth isn't his first dalliance with making music. Believe it or not, Ifans was actually the singer in a very early, pre-recording contract line-up of legendary Cardiff outfit Super Furry Animals, and having appeared in several high profile music videos since (Catatonia's 'Mulder And Scully' and Oasis' 'The Importance Of Being Idle' for two), briefly set up The Peth with a bunch of musician friends including SFA drummer Dafydd Ieuan in 2006 to little more than the odd cat cry of 'Here we go again; Vanity project no. 69 and counting.'.
And therein lies the problem with 'The Golden Mile', thus titled as a tribute to a stretch of road and its imaginary residents in the Grangetown area of Cardiff where the band's recording studio lies. While musically the execution isn't all bad, the concept of Rhys Ifans fronting a psychedelic rock band is one that defies logic, particularly when confronted with song titles that range from the obscene ('69 Fanny Street') to the frankly ridiculous ('Lets Go Fucking Mental', 'Shoot On Sight (Flock Of Zeigheils)').
In fact, one wonders why Ieuan wanted to get involved and especially put his name to something such as this in the first place bearing in mind the ongoing success of Super Furry Animals, long-time mate or not. At times 'The Golden Mile' could almost be dismissed as a caricature to early Super Furries opus 'Fuzzy Logic', such are its mixture of Rolling Stones riffs, Beach Boys-esque harmonies and Hawkwind pilfered space effects. What it doesn't possess, however, is anything truly memorable in the song department, and while the likes of grandiose opener 'Half A Brain' and mid-point slow burner 'Honey, Take A Bow' at least display a touch of humility to rank alongside the obvious ego boost of such a creation as this, one suspects that only the North London luvvy set or Super Furries diehards will take any positives from this collection.
As someone once said, 'just because you're a good bus driver doesn't mean you can fly a plane', and by the same layman's logic, actors don't generally make good songwriters or musicians either.
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