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Debbie Leggo - Debbie Leggs

  by Jon Rogers

published: 6 / 10 / 2009

Debbie Leggo - Debbie Leggs
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Improvisational, but ultimately captivating debut album from North London-based free jazz/drone rock quartet, Debbie Leggo

The initial indications on Debbie Leggo's debut album are not good. Not good at all. ‘Debbs Legs’ opens with ‘Love Travels on a Tightrope’ which is such a good rip-off of The Fall that it could very well have been an outtake from either of Mark E Smith’s last few studio albums. There are, admittedly, hundreds of Fall copyists out there but this really does take the biscuit. Even vocalist (in the loosest sense of the word) Gerry Mitchell is a Smith soundalike and clearly doesn’t take care of his vocal chords and no doubt enjoys an alcoholic beverage or two. The rest of the band fall into a Fall-esque riff that pounds away. The thing is though there’s no point replicating what has already been done. Fortunately once they’ve got that out of their system ‘Debbs Legs’ improves significantly and comes into its own. In fact ‘Love Travels on a Tightrope’ is the north London quartet’s most conventional song as the band drop the Fall impersonation and venture off into much more interesting areas. Mitchell’s vocals – apparently he’s a Scottish street poet - might still sound like the leader of The Fall but ‘Debbs Legs’ quickly wanders off into improvisational territory. In fact the whole structure of ‘Debbs Legs’ is like some early Yo La Tengo album which veers from three minute pop songs to elongated jams that seem to go on for eternity and then back again. Debbie Leggo might not venture out quite as far as that but the three minute ‘Clerks Crow’ sits in between two lengthier songs, the shorter of which is just under 10 minutes long. And more importantly the band start to find their own voice having soaked up a seemingly interesting array of influences. There’s the drone rock of bands like Spacemen 3 and Loop, a little free jazz of Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane and the haunting atmospherics of Slint. Admittedly at times the extended songs ‘Doggy Do’ and ‘Manic Molecules’ do lose their way and sound like rough and ready jam sessions in the studio that could do with a bit of work to tidy them up. At times they just amble aimlessly along as if unsure of which way to go. But there’s enough going on to keep up your interest.

Track Listing:-
1 Love Travels On A Tightrope
2 Doggy Do
3 Clerks Crow
4 Manic Molecules
5 This Is A Death & Love Song

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