Well, I wasn't initially sure what to make of this. Classic rock and metal idioms have been combined with a fuzz-fuelled stoner/desert sound in places, and some almost "naive" fretboard work, both rhythm and leads, that leans more towards in a DIY punk aesthetic. Add to the mix what sounds like pop punk mimicry during certain passages, a touch of alt-rock, a production that's not always that great, and some unnecessary faff, and we have ‘The Chronicles of Dr. Leddfoot’ from Headline Maniac, which is, apparently, their second album. Members are bassist/vocalist Ian ‘Dipster’ Dean, drummer Simon Bowley and guitarist Chris Taylor, all current personnel in the post-millennial incarnation of punk legends Eddie and the Hotrods.
That faff? Right from the off, it all comes across as a little naff and cheesy... which I can only guess must be the intention. The album’s supposedly based around the story of a fictional character who “hides dark secrets and desires”. So, on the opening intro piece, an American voice talks of William Merryweather from the South East of England (do we need to be told this is a faux American accent?), in what I presume is supposed to mimic the deeply resonant movie trailer voice overs... albeit the narrator far more resembles Peter Baynham's Hugh Morris from the third episode of the first series of ‘I’m Alan Partridge’. You know, the episode that features irate farmers, ladyboys (on Alan’s hotel room TV and as a round of drinks), and said character Morris from Hamilton’s Water Breaks (“You’d make a good Bond villain… Dr No… vocal chords").
I’m not lured in by the naffness, but I am curious! Then, first track, ‘Save Me’, is both naff and somehow entertaining. There’s a fuzz overload in the guitar - as such, the distortion sounds rather "loose", and riffs, particularly the palm-muted riffing, are not as tight as they could be. But there are some half-decent riffs here, metal in nature, on what’s a nicely arranged song, complete with bread-and-butter bass/drums, and some good vocals (and vocal harmonies).
The next track, ‘Bad Luck Inc’ has more of a stoner vibe, and then ‘Not the One You Want’ veers into, dare I say, pop punk territory. Then they embrace classic rock idioms on ‘I’ve Got a Thing for You’. And so on, and so on. It’s an unpredictable outing, for sure, and, do you know what? There's something thoroughly unpretentious about it all that's actually rather likeable. Melodies are decent, songs are crafted well enough, and ‘The Chronicles of Dr Leddfoot’ provides an entertaining forty or so minutes of music.
Just like the cheesy B-movie aesthetic this album is based around, the songs themselves are perhaps best regarded as B-music - enjoyable on their own terms if expectations are lowered and the music's taken for what it is. A similar mindset one would require for viewing a Lloyd Kaufman movie, a Jess Franco flick, or anything from Herschell Gordon Lewis’ back catalogue of low budget exploitation efforts. Maybe that’s a tad unfair, as there is some polish and art to this; just not that well executed all the time - perhaps more Roger Corman or Russ Meyer, if you get my drift. And I might've only given this 6 out of 10, but 6 is a great score for a B-movie, right?
THE CHRONICLES OF DR LEDDFOOT
Review by Mark Holmes
12th July 2019
1) Intro; 2) Save Me
3) Bad Luck Inc; 4) Not the One You Want
5) I've Got a Thing for You - Walter Mitty Song
7) Where Did I Go Wrong
8) Out of My Head
9) Outer Space
10) Won't Forget You
11) See Your Face Again
12) Looking for Love
13) High Society
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"Just like the cheesy B-movie aesthetic this album is based around, the songs themselves are perhaps best regarded as B-music - enjoyable on their own terms if expectations are lowered and the music's taken for what it is."