A remarkable twenty-four years after what was thought to be their final album, expatriate Cardiff hard rock veterans Budgie (having now relocated to the USA) released a new studio album full of songs that distinctly belong in the Budgie canon, perhaps a little too self-consciously on occasion. It's almost like the band nervously over-prepared for this comeback release by listening to everything they ever recorded, as traces can be seen not only of their blues-rock origins and heavy metal conclusion, but also the weird and disappointing funk stuff they did in-between. Needless to say, as a Budgie sound-alike performed by the Real McCoy, or at least two-thirds of the original trio, it's not exactly an album to catapult their career into the twenty-first century, but then they never were particularly recognised even in their prime.
Craig Goldy fills in for session guitar on this album, and it's his crunchy tone that marks this out as a modern release, and even lends it a satisfying stoner vibe on occasion, though sadly that occasion is only limited to the opening song, after which things turn a little stale. Burke Shelley's vocals sound exactly the same as they did in the late seventies, which is nice to hear, but sadly the band doesn't attempt to continue the heavy metal style it was working towards at the time of its original demise, settling on a standard hard rock direction throughout. While this makes songs like 'Dead Men Don't Talk' fairly enjoyable in an outdated sort of way, it's really the lighter half of the album that reduces its quality significantly, as Budgie puts out more ballads than ever before.
The title song itself isn't too bad, stubbornly maintaining its acoustic style throughout and becoming a little tiresome but at least not embarrassing the old boys, but then the album bizarrely continues to churn them out in increasing inferiority. 'Love Is Enough' and 'Captain' are unfortunately as bad as anything from the 'Deliver Us From Evil' album, and other songs are infected with the slow syndrome to the point that 'Tell Me Tell Me' and 'I Don't Want to Throw You' are both essentially ballads with loud bits.
Fortunately, it's not all stale, and the band continues to experiment to some small degree. The funk song 'Falling' is a particular oddity, sounding much like a hard rock version of something the Red Hot Chili Peppers might have done back when they were still good, but pompously-titled finale 'I'm Compressing the Comb on a Cockerel's Head' is really just an excuse for Goldy to mess around with his guitar for a while. It's better than nothing, but you would have thought that twenty-four years away would have at least allowed the band members a little time to come up with something more exciting than this. I have no idea where they're taking it next.
2. Dead Men Don't Talk
3. We're All Living in Cuckooland
5. Love Is Enough
6. Tell Me Tell Me
7. (Don't Want To) Find That Girl
9. I Don't Want to Throw You
10. I'm Compressing the Comb on a Cockerel's Head
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Dead Men Don't Talk
3 We're All Living in Cuckooland
5 Love Is Enough
6 Tell Me Tell Me
7 (Don't Want To) Find That Girl
9 I Don't Want to Throw You
10 I'm Compressiong the Comb on a Cockerel's Head