David Marx & The AK Poets - ‘Ghost of Corelli’ EP (Secret Chord Records)
CD ReviewsWritten by Rich Hobson Monday, 12 January 2015 03:40
Waiting for great pop music is like waiting for the bus; you wait forever, two come along at once and you suddenly realise you were looking at the wrong stop all along. So it goes with busses it too goes with pop leaning offerings, with The Dowling Poole invading all things radio to preach the gospel it falls to the delicious pop ‘n’ roll act The AK Poets to tread the boards a little closer to home, gigging extensively in the South of England to preach their very own ministry of groove.
Based out of Swindon and born from a love of all things groovy, David Marx and The AK Poets drink heavily from the fountains of Waits and Costello whilst sitting by the same pools as The Clash and The Yardbirds to pump out a record jammed packed full with swinging rhythms, infectious choruses and devilishly witty lyrics.
‘The Ghost of Corelli’ sees seasoned musician David Marx (previously of The Refugees and solo efforts like ‘Jesus Was A Socialist’ and ‘My Crucial Execution’) take up his own personal palate of wry wit and pop effort (musically checking in everywhere from The Beautiful South on ‘Jesus Was A Socialist’s ‘White Trees’ to The Pogues meets The Cure jaunt ‘Wedding In America’ from the same record), then strain it through the beaten path of rock n roll rhythms, provided here in force by bassist Patrick Luszckz and drummer Richard Skidmore to form a tight package of pure pop prowess ready to stick to the roof of your head like the world’s sweetest rock ‘n’ roll treacle.
A 5 track EP, ‘The Ghost of Corelli’ is a short and sweet crash course in how to do groovalicious pop ‘n’ roll astoundingly well, the record making a very simple pact with the listener; It’ll rock if you’re willing to roll ‘n’ shake like a maniac, which it defies you to try and resist. With that in mind, let the rock roll…
Opening up on ‘Sicilian Satire’, the EP starts how it means to go; rolling and grooving with a slick assuredness, The AK Poets combine a versatile group of influences - blues thru r’n’b via classic punk – to come out on top as a fresh sounding, sticky sweet tasting, toe tapping tour de force. ‘Sicilian Satire’ is pub rock at its most aspirational, set to a solid back of rock ‘n’ roll groove David Marx pulls us right up to dance from the get go, his lyrics dripping in intelligence via simplicity (“We are prisoners of the passion/Yet neither of us hold the key”), and a perfect bark-along chorus (“I was born in Sicily!”) everything is turned up to 11 for this opening piece.
Oozing with class, track two ‘In An Empty Room’ toe taps its way directly onto your spine, dripping rhythms that invoke the thought of an old blues band playing to a dusty Southern US bar, David Marx’s vocals taking a heavy dose of the roguish charm of Phil Lynott (think “Dancing In The Moonlight”) and dragging it up for a shuffle across the boards.
Track three continues in the realms of understated brilliance, the balladic ‘Sweet Dreams’ is driven by a doomy blues trudge bassline whilst the guitar-work plays nimbly in the foreground, alongside a bright and brittle piano that lends the song a sense of light and dark at play simultaneously, a real ballad to sink your sorrows to.
Probably the highlight for the EP, ‘Cassius Clay’ jumps back up with the get up ‘n’ go dance grooves that the band enjoyed on ‘Sicilian Satire’. A real rock ‘n’ roll rover, ‘Cassius Clay’ ducks and weaves like the eponymous boxer with a mean (choral) hook, “To her… you are Cassius Clay!” This track brings the party and flings it around the room, pop meeting rock head on and grabbing it for a jump and a sing.
Cut short far too soon the EP ends on the rabble rousing ‘Eleven Thousand Martyred Virgins’, a last grand hurrah for everything that ‘The Ghost of Corelli’ has stood for. Jumping up with a manic energy that the rest of the EP has just hinted at, the aural equivalent of smashing its guitars against the walls and setting fire to the stage, whilst still retaining that all important rhythm, ‘Eleven Thousand Martyred Virgins’ is a fitting lightning flash closer to bring the whole affair to a close.
So, what to say in verdict? The EP is unarguably fantastic; at once groovy, hard hitting, clever, simple and with a rogues grin that could make Bon Scott blush, ‘The Ghost of Corelli’ is all of the above and more, taking seasoned musicianship and mixing it with fresh passion for great music to wring every last iota of brilliance out in the (criminally) short run-time of the record.
Here’s hoping that 2015 sees the band continue to refine their sound and pump out a dozen more records of delicious poptastic rock ‘n’ roll (a Dowling Poole support gig wouldn’t go amiss too!), as ‘The Ghost of Corelli’ is everything that music should be; familiar, fresh and with more licks than you can shake a Rolling Stones reunion at. Ebola might be out of the news now, but that’s just to make way for this new, rhythmically infectious disease.
You can check out the “Ghost of Corelli” taster here; https://soundcloud.com/the-ak-poets/ghost-of-corelli-taster