And then Cult Figures went and did this. They went and made the best album of 2021, hands down, no argument will be entered into.
After re-forming and making the album they should have made in 1980 they wrote a bunch of new songs and put together this marvel. It is bursting with great songs, tunes I would happily have thrown myself around a dancefloor to before the onset of knee problems.
Opener “Chicken Bones” sets the scene describing walking to work in the early hours and witnessing the detritus of a night on the town (“I’ve been picking my way through the chicken bones and the fast food ketchup stains”) including the characters involved (“Puffer jacket up ahead, He’s a third generation low grade dealer, Meets a punter out to score who’s a tyre kicking waste of time”) all set to a track reminiscent of The Clash’s go at “Police On My Back”. It’s a belter and deserves a much wider audience.
The subjects of the songs would not have been out of place back when Cult Figures were young uns, the futility of a dull existence (“Donut Life”), casual violence at the weekend (“Silver Blades”), young love (“Julie-Ann”) and creeping gentrification (“Concrete and Glass”) are all covered here.
The band themselves say the album still holds the three P’s of their early days – punk, pop and psychedelia, and all that is here. It’s named after on old industrial area of our mutual home city, Deritend to the East of Birmingham City centre, where the Barrel Organ pub, Digbeth Civic Hall and the Irish Centre were all situated, scenes of great gigs, nights out and pitched battles between the Anti Nazi League and the NF in the late ‘70’s. Silver Blades ice rink, as mentioned in song on this album, isn’t too far away. It’s a record with its heart in Brum even if it was made in London.
As this album was being released I had, via the medium of social media, reconnected with singer Gary Jones (an old mate of my ex’s brother for those who aren’t paying attention) and I was excitedly awaiting the announcement of a Cult Figures Brum gig so I could finally catch up with him after getting on for 40 years. Then one morning I received the awful news from a friend that Gary had been ill for sometime and had succumbed to his illness and passed away. Such a bloody shame but f*cking hell mate, you left behind one hell of a statement x
Chicken Bones - https://youtu.be/bTJCPCTdCoI