What In The World
relaunched two years ago. Buoyed and reinvigorated by a number of
highly successful live sorties, Paul Cook,
Paul Myers and Tom Spencer have returned from maneuvers and regrouped
in the studio ready to unleash a brand new musical salvo on the world,
fittingly titled What In The World.
The Professionals emerged victorious from this fresh assault? Let's
take a look.
I knew the LP would be good, but I'm astonished by just how great it
is. It's 100% Professionals for a start - a tough sounding follow up to
See It Coming. No complaints about the production this time around,
it's both loud and clear.
Furthermore, What In The World is an authentic rock and roll record,
structured as per
traditional vinyl with attention paid to the running order on each
Good Man Down
erupts from the speakers. It's an exciting start to the LP. No wonder
the song is already part of the band's live set. Referred to,
tongue-in-cheek, as a Viagra song, it actually deals with the process
of ageing and standing by what makes you tick. The album's guitar
template is firmly set in place with a display of power chords to
delight fans clamouring for the Professionals sound of old. Fittingly,
Steve Jones is back in the ranks for this one, and he's unmistakable.
Billy Duffy likewise turns Professional with some style. The guitar is
outstanding, but check out Cookie's drumming - shades of God Save The
Let Go is
about caring unconditionally for your kin through thick and thin. The
music motors at speed, aided by a rousing chorus and backing vocals.
Phil Collen delivers a crisp rock sound, switching from electrifyingly
quick to suspenseful, while the two Pauls, Cook and Myers, remain
unyieldingly vigorous throughout.
continues in the realm of classic Pros, with rumbling, menacing
guitar from Tom Spencer, augmented by Steve Jones' spine tingling
intervention two minutes in. Billy Duffy again partners Steve in the
overdubs - an explosive dual performance which, once it kicks in, just
doesn't let up. It's direct and uplifting music, with top vocals, both
Tom's lead and backing. A tribute to Bowie and Lemmy, the song neatly
bonds two separate instances of Professionals misbehaviour. Whereas
Steve Jones famously stole Bowie's gear from Hammersmith Odeon, years
later when Tom worked as a teenager at the Odeon, Lemmy's Motorhead
'Bomber' lighting rig was stolen. "That bomber won't fly far, it's in
the back of my car." One to leave you
is one of two tracks on the album with a different feel to the norm.
It's more restrained in the pace department and lyrically left field.
Both factors enhance the rich visual landscape. Mick Jones does the
guest guitar honours, and he's the perfect fit,
sprinkling atmospheric tones over Tom's riffing and Cookie's rock solid
rhythm. Great attention has been given to the BVs throughout the album,
and they are used to full
affect here, bathing the track with a warm ambience. The traditional
Professionals lineage is never far away either, with hints of Crescendo
linking the old and new, topped off with some neat bass from Paul Myers.
'side one' with a frenzied burst of rock energy. Yet again, Phil
Collen doesn't hold back. His style may be different to Steve's but it
is no less spectacular, conjuring up thrilling motifs of varied pace,
perfectly suited to the sound of the band. The
tune is as catchy and rip-roaring as they come, and lyrically it's
another one punters of a certain vintage can relate to as we struggle
with our memories, "won't you come back to me?". Epic
Professionals to round off the first half of the set.
Hats Off kicks
off 'side two' hitting the spot on many levels, from the rich imagery
to the soaring verses and chorus. Loaded with a social conscience, it
champions the downtrodden from the battlefields of WW1 through to
modern slavery. Tom's firm vocal is a clear plus, delivered with an
emotional strength which complements the song's vibe. Guest Duff
MaKagan steps up to the plate. As does new Professional Chris McCormack
who joined the ranks just in time to make this track. It's clear
they're both familiar with the band's legacy, nailing their guitar
parts with a Jonesy infused confidence.
is another powerhouse rapid rocker. It acknowledges both the passing of
time and the conflicts that greet every generation in turn. Another
song that has already been given a successful outing live. On record
Marco Pirroni adds balls to the mix. Not a million miles away from Join
The Professionals in its sense of purpose, it grasps the distinctive
sound of the old-school Professionals and plants it firmly in the 21st
Century. A classic.
Take Me Now brings together
everything The Professionals are about. Clever songwriting, vocal
delivery, solid riffs, ascending and descending guitar with rampaging
bass and bombastic drumming. It features a trio of guitar greats with
Steve Jones, Billy Duffy and Marco Pirroni all adding their magic.
Three and a half breathless
minutes fly past in a flash and, in keeping with the LP's urgency as a
whole, it breaks off with the sudden force of a guillotine. "What a
wonderful world it could be." No kidding. It's a killer.
Bad Baby is
the second cut to ease off the gas, albeit ever so slightly. The energy
is still present, just controlled, as the band stretch their formula
with a hypnotic, haunting soundscape that gets under the skin. Repeated
listening reveals an incredible depth to the music. Cookie's
drumming prowess drives this musical tour de
force. An intriguing beast, it's fitting that the subject matter is
ambiguous in nature.
It's fast becoming an unexpected highlight.
offers up a break neck finale. Phil Collen - the surprise package for
me - is back, and Duff McKagan is with him. It goes out to all the
delusional people who think they run the show. The chorus is superb
"see no, hear no, speak no evil, where did your monkeys go?" It's a
blistering pogo-fest. I swear if you concentrate hard enough on the
last second there's an echo of Too Far To Fall, the closing track of I
Didn't See It Coming. Sure, it may be a figment of my imagination, but
the history and essence of the band runs deep throughout. Don't be
surprised if you experience something similar.
What In The World is an optimistic punk rock album with a conscience,
shaped by life experience. Lyrically reflective, yet full of youthful
energy. Tom, as lead singer, had perhaps the most daunting task.
Sensibly steering away from doing a copycat Jonesy, he furnishes the
tracks with a gutsy rock vocal that suits the music and helps give the
'new Pros' their own sound. Never fear, they still maintain one foot
firmly in their early 80s existence. For starters, the drums are
undeniably Cookie in his prime. Paul's distinct Pistols/Pros style is
there in spades and remains central throughout. A nod goes to Paul
Myers for his part, listen for his bass lines in Good Man Down, Rewind
and Bad Baby - fast or slow he can mix it up.
The attention to detail,
whether the inclusion of backing vocals to enhance the tracks or the
role of the individual guest guitarists, illustrates the care put into
the production. The guests add an enormous amount of pedigree to the
project, each bringing their own style and colour. However, underneath
all Tom remains the driving force in the guitar stakes. His powerful
riffs showing beyond doubt why he's a bona fide Professional. Perhaps
the most satisfying aspect of the whole project has been the emergence
of the Cook 'n' Spencer songwriting team. It's been a revelation.
What In The World is much more than an exercise in nostalgia and
familiarity. They've applied an electric shock to their own past and
jolted both band and fans alike through to 2017. The Professionals
embrace their history, but don't live
in it. They're a contemporary outfit with an exciting new album that
demands your attention. As simple as.
AWOL for 35 years, The Professionals have reported back for duty battle
ready. Be on the right side of history, enlist today. What In The World
awaits at your HQ.
|What In The
World released October 28 2017: Pre-order now via Pledge
Launch Show October 27 2017, The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton: Tickets available now
Launch Show October 28 2017, The Garage, London: Tickets
|Previewed by Phil Singleton (September 17)
|©Phil Singleton / cookandjones.co.uk / www.sex-pistols.net 2017
All rights reserved.
Not to be reproduced without permission
God Save The Sex Pistols / Kick Down The Doors ©Phil Singleton / cookandjones.co.uk / www.sex-pistols.net 2017