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My Drug Hell - Profile

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 19 / 3 / 2009

My Drug Hell - Profile


Anthony Strutt examines the career of 60s-influenced London-based act My Drug Hell, who have now released two albums

My Drug Hell first came into my life in 1996 when I picked up ‘This is My Drug Hell’, their debut album, I was so impressed that, before I even saw them live, I set up an interview with them at a venue in Camden. They were not a Britpop band even though they were of that era, but instead had a 60s retro flavour. Back then, they were a three piece consisting of Tim Briffa on guitar and vocals, Paul Donnelly on bass and Joe Bultitude on drums. Joe spent a lot of time walking out on the band and by the time I saw them he was history. They blew me away that night and were in one of my first fanzines which I produced solely by myself. Over the next year or so, I saw them change drummers and add a lot of new songs to their set, none of which were recorded at that time. ‘This is My Drug Hell’ originally came out on Voltone International and 2007 saw the reissue of this debut by Leicester based label, For the Sake of the Song, which adds no extra tracks, but a colour cover to the sleeve and new sleeve notes. It sounds to me as fresh as when I first heard it and I think it's better than their new album, ‘My Drug Hell 2’, which has also come out on For the Sake of the Song , but I am sure will grow on me as a piece of work. ‘This is My Drug Hell’ (1996) ‘This is My Drug Hell’ opens with ‘Don't Say Goodbye,’ which is reminiscent of the Beatles in the mid 60s and also nods to electric era Dylan. Catchy in sound and beatnik in tone, it is a perfect combination of 60s vocals, guitar, bass, and drums. ‘2 a.m’ has a great bass and drum introduction, before it takes you on a journey that happens on every London street every day. It is as riveting a tale as anything written by Ray Davies from the Kinks. ‘You Were Right, I Was Wrong’ is jazzy and full of early 60s beats. It is almost listening to it like you have walked into the Cavern in Liverpool during the Merseybeat era. ‘Girl at the Bus Stop’ was a single and used in an advert to promote Millers beer. This is a tale of London life and of falling for a French lady while at the bus stop. Very slow and seductive, it is as classy as anything written by Ray Davies and is a song full of dreams with a vocal from Tim that sounds like Arthur Lee of Love. ‘Maybe We Could Fly’ is a first class piece of jazzy beatnik cool and sounds like an early the Doors sung again by Arthur Lee. ‘Jinx's Hole’ is very easy-on-the-ear with its chunky guitar, while Tim's vocal on it sounds like that of a hurt John Lennon. ‘For Your Eyes’ sounds like a combination of an experimental Pink Floyd jamming with Cream. ‘She Locked Away My Heart Up (and swallowed the keys)’ is a slow blues number, while Tim’s vocals on it recall Keith Relf of the Yardbirds. ‘Teen Psycho Nightmare No 99’ is a tempo-based number garage rock number. ‘She Flies So High’ is slow and, sounding like the Beatles during their ‘Rubber Soul’ period, is full of summer sunshine and happiness. While this is the end of the album, the reissue, like the original, has a secret track, an uncredited fun song which tells the story of the hassles the band had with various press and record companies. ‘My Drug Hell 2’ (2009) My Drug Hell has now almost a completely new line up. Only Tim Briffa remains from the original group, and it also features Dave Preston (bass guitar) and Sebastian Kellig (drums). It opens with ‘You Don't Need Me Today’, another slab of pure 1960s beatnik heaven, which is as strong as the Kinks or the early Who. ‘Waiting for Anna’ is another waiting for a girl track, and could have been the soundtrack for ‘Ready, Steady, Go !’. ‘Nightgames’ has a weird rhythm and a vocal from Tim that recalls the secret track on the debut album. ‘Garden Party’ is reminiscent of ‘Forever Changes’ period Love, until it speeds up, and develops a Who-like groove but this time sung by Syd Barrett. ‘Mysteries of Love’ was released as a single last November and is possibly the best thing on here. With a slow vocal from Tim, well-paced bass and softly-strummed guitar, to which have been added on top of this Inspiral Carpets moog keyboards and weird late 60s wah wah guitar, it was an easy choice for a single. ‘Goblins, Mermaids and Things’ was the B side of ‘Mysteries of Love’ and starts off sounding like a classic Who number until Tim’s vocals kicks in when it changes direction, and comes on more like a mid 60s Stones or even a Beatles number. 'Nowhere Town’ is soft and slow, a blues burner of the Yardbirds flavour. ‘Don't Fall in Love’ and ‘Something’s Not Quite right’ are both slow r ‘n’ b numbers. ‘D is for Delinquent’ is a fast paced rocker with some great wah wah guitar, while ‘Any Old Fool’, which closes the new album, is slow and has an autobiographical feel to it.

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My Drug Hell - Profile

My Drug Hell - Profile

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Interview (2009)
My Drug Hell - Interview
Tim Briffa from 60s-influenced London-based trio My Drug Hell speaks to Anthony Strutt about his group's just out second album, which has been released thirteen years after their debut

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