I picked out one album to see what I think of the The Jazz Butcher, like I have done with several of the other box sets in the past. Why A Scandal In Bohemia? Simply because it is the first album in the first set? Well not only. The title holds something intriguing as well. It is 1985 in Oxford. Bohemia is still behind the Iron Curtain and not a place to just drive to without real borders and passport controls. So why call an album A Scandal In Bohemia?
What I notice digging into the album is that it goes from dark wave that I hated so much at the time to whatever comes into the mind of Pat Fish and his compadres at the time. Nothing seems too far out it seems. Every idea is explored and worked out in the rehearsal room and brought to the studio. Fish sings some of the songs with that typical voice of the time. All influenced by the master of death Ian Curtis. Luckily it seems he had already discovered another tone as well, often aided by others in the band.
And here's The Jazz Butcher stepping over all these boundaries and here I am in early 2018. The guy who abhorred most of what went on musically in the decade called the 80s and having a great time, most of the time, with A Scandal In Bohemia.
With this I have found the key to this album. The Jazz Butcher loves to combine influences from different spectra and work them into a new song. Together Pat Fish, Mark Eider, Owen Jones and David J. brew these influences into a unique The Jazz Butcher song. They even do a Stray Cats pastiche, 'I Need Meat', but not without adding something the U.S. band would never have thought of in its wildest. Let alone the title.
Except for that question at the beginning I haven't got answered, nothing much remains to be desired.
* I wrote this review one day before the demise of Mark E. Smith was announced.
You can listen to and buy 'The Wasted Years' here: