Magazine (December 2006)
second album by one of the best of the current crop of
Britain's Ska bands, 'Now Thats What I Call...The
Amphetameanies' has to be a contender for the UK ska album of the year
They start with quite a downbeat number by their standards
in "Dutch Courage" before kicking into a track from
their most recent EP, the hugely lively "Say Something
Special To Me" which is worth the entrance fee alone and
which is getting a fair amount of play at scooter do's up and
down the country before "24/7" (which appears on
the same EP) starts, which struts along in a very 3rd wave
style, even down to the slow mid section so typical of late
80s US ska.
Next up is "Sunday Driver", a brass drenched old
school dancer that is crying out for plays even with its very
odd Scottish middle eight and then "Goodbye Boyfriend",
a Madness influenced 'Dear John' type song that most of us
can relate to! "Love You Just The Way You Are" tells
the story of a boyfriend tryng to boost his girlfriends self
confidence, telling her that only his opinion is the one she
should listen to, no matter what everyone else says about her.
your feet a rest is the female vocal on "Washed up",
a down beat shuffler, but still with the 'Meanies heavy
ska feel, then "Nobody Knows" pushes the bpm
back up with another brass loaded dancer before "Desert
Culture" kicks in with a guitar riff which leads into
a killer upbeat mainly instrumental track. This is a track
that would fill a dance floor given a little exposure,
with its tempo changes and sudden stop/starts.
"The Devil Lives Upstairs" is a typical
Amphetameanies track - bouncy keyboard and brass over a
steady drum beat and guitar until the tempo changes...again! "This
yet another upbeat keyboard led track which leads into one
of the tracks of their split single (with The Argies) from
last year, celebrating the notorious goal by Diego Maradona
- Well, they are Scottish, so allow them that minor flaw? -
then "Copernicus" slows it back down before the raucous "Backbeat
Fucker" which is a celebration of enjoying the music we
In short, if you're looking for a ska album to end the year
with, you won't go far wrong with this one. Avaialable from
www.amphetameanies.co.uk for a measly tenner, get in there,
and while you're at it, treat yourself to their first album
that's what I call fucking brilliant. It's been more than
half a decade since the Amphetameanies last released an
album, and that time's been well spent. Sometimes it's
difficult to walk through Glasgow without bumping into
a 'meanies show: you stick your head in the door of the
pub on you way past to see if any of your mates are in,
and there they are. You head down the middle of Byres Road
and they're up on a stage, trying to cut out all the sweary
bits so as not to upset folk with weans. You slip into
Borders to use their toilet, and the Amphetameanies are
all crammed into a cubicle, giving it yalday.
years, then, playing bouncy, sweaty two-tone ska has left
us with a band who are really bloody good at it. Musically
they're far tighter than the Amphetameanies who recorded
Right Line in Nylons, with stronger ideas and better production.
The versatility of the band's setup is exploited to the
full, meaning the instrumentation is more or less spot
on throughout. There's no filler material here—every
song stands out in its own right.
are more immediately arresting, mind. Say Something Special
throws such infectious energy into its brass riffs that
it'll be weeks before you get it out of your head. Another
tune that doesn't mess about is Desert Culture, a three-way
brawl between guitar, keyboard and brass lines that leaves
you just enough time for a breather as the vocals pick
it up (pick it up! pick it up!) in the middle: "I'm
getting desperate/and I'm losing the rag/I have been through
the contents/of the hoover bag.". There's a chance
you've heard of This Boy, as it's been popularised by an
alarmingly famous Glasgow indie band named after a certain
archduke. At any rate, it's a punchy, upbeat number that
sounds better for some keyboard licks and a brass section.
we have the slow burners. Songs that hold your hand instead
of grabbing you by the face. Goodbye Boyfriend is nicely
restrained, with just enough brassy pomp to underpin the
simple piano melody, and a chorus that packs more hooks
than a pirate armada. Washed Away strips things back still
further, to a guitar and a vocal line and precious little
else. It makes for a nice contrast, but even the gentler
songs have an urgency, a buttoned-down vitality that marks
the 'meanies out from your more laid-back, back-in-the day
two-tone artists. Like they caught nasty punk germs from
the Newtown Grunts, or something.
of Argentina. Sounds of Mexico. Sounds of dancing and drinking
and bouncing and sweating. Mostly sounds of nine people having
a rare tear. How other bands manage with only three or four
members is anyone's guess.
That's What I Call … The
Amphetameanies is out now. Buy one for your mum this Christmas."
This Music (No.25, February/March
initial trepidation upon receiving this album was dispelled
a few bars into the stomping soul opener Dutch Courage.
I knew that they were still cutting it live (an understatement)
but could they get this over in the studio as well as they
did with Right Line in Nylons ? Oh yes it turns out, no
If you know of this band chances are you will have sought
this album out already. If you don¹t know them, Glasgow¹s
18 legged ska beast are a revelation that capture the sound
of Two Tone twenty odd years later without seeming revivalist.
Okay, the roots of the music are from 60s Jamaica via 80s
Coventry but The Amphetameanies are very much here and
now with their own unashamedly Scottish identity.
is brimming with the usual horn driven numbers that make
the live shows so good. It's not all sweat and stomp material
however. Everything from the lyrics to the multi vocal
and instrumental arrangements help the songs transfer from
the dance floor to repeated plays on the stereo.
This band are nothing short of a national treasure.
are clearly not enough nonets around these days (in fact
how bloody great a word is nonet anyway?) and the Meanies
do things at their own pace (leisurely) and in their own
style (boisterous). Among
their current fold are Mick from Belle and Sebastian, and John
from Datapanik, and their alumni include Alex Kapranos (nee Huntley)
who had a hand in writing a couple of these tracks.
While Lily Allen gleefully pisses on the entire notion of
ska currently, this mob know their history, clearly holding
the shuffling roots of the genre dear. This is more than
one-dimensional Trojan tribute however, with a clutch of
vocalist on hand and enough brass to start a coilliery band,
theirs is a varied, potent brew. It's the sense of humour
coupled with an ear for thunderous, war cry chorus and unashamedly
upbeat melody that carries them through their more derivative
You can¹t help but wish you were hearing these songs
live, rather than on record, such is their energy, but that¹s
a tribute to the quality of the band's live shows. This
is for those quiet evenings in skanking round your living
Bomb Fanzine (November 2006)
another longplayer from Madness' illegitimate Glaswegian children.
Variety is guaranteed, because, it seems to me, every one
of the 9 members has a go at setting the tempo... however,
unmistakably the Amphetameanies, whether male or female singing.
Hits like 'Say something special'
or 'Sunday Driver' for example are simply great.
Its also nice that the 'meanies, though they belong to
the real big ones over all the years, don¹t feel the need
to boast about it.
Music still can make fun today!"
album from the 9-headed Scottish ska-allstars from Glasgow!
Nice peppy and contagiously catchy ska, Bad Manners brass
meets the guitars and songs of the Specials and Madness,
very much 2Tone influenced, but in a good way.
The songs win, above all, by the nice women's voice. Harmonious-melodic,
mid-tempo modern-timeless ska, which does not fall into
the stereotype trap, but is fresh and impartial, which
is not natural at this level."
the big Scooterboy in the sky that The Ordinary Boys
haven't destroyed ska.
The collective called The Amphetameanies celebrate ten years together by releasing
an album of upbeat, Hammond-tastic tunes to make you dance.
Including members of Bis/Data Panik and Belle and Sebastian, there's none of
the blandness of Preston's ska-lite.
From the Suggs with a Scots accent on 'Sunday Driver' to the Bad Manners headshaking
of 'Washed Away' to the Altered Images mixed with Madness of '24/7', Preston
should listen to this and be ashamed.
The band play The Tunnels, Aberdeen, on February 17 and King Tut's, Glasgow,
on March 30..."
The Dog (December
out of Glasgow with a corking 2nd album are long running
9-piece juggernaut The Amphetameanies. Titled "Now!
What I Call ... The Amphetameanies", the 14-song disc
is a riotous party of soul-injected 2-Tone from start to finish.
of Madness, Blondie, The Specials and Dexys Midnight
Runners can be heard on the release, all injected with
unique sense of humour and knack for writing top quality
pop tunes. Yet another contender for album of the year in an extraordinary
12 months for UK ska!
Plus (November 2006)
new long player from this good-mood nonet from Glasgow. They¹ve
already proved their creativity on older releases and they
do not disappoint me on this album by any means.
The Amphetameanies remain faithful to their varied style,
but if you want to bring it down to a denominator - pop
like Madness, played fast like Bad Manners.
In addition, there are alternating male/female singers, very
beautiful brass parts and it is all marvellously danceable.
Yes, the Scots have got the hang of it!"
years have passed since "Right Line In Nylons" (which
was more a collection of singles in album format than a
stand-alone long-player) was released, but finally there
is something new of the likeably mad Scots.
The single released ahead of the album, "Say Something
Special", was a successful appetizer for a collection
which, though not completely so fast and vehement throughout,
even a little bit melancholy in places, still has the necessary
bite. The Specials meet Madness.
The fact that this does not come across too predictably is
credit to John Disco (ex-bis) at the mixing desk. I don't
know why the voices of Jane Chalmers and Stan Millar remind
much of Chumbawamba, but I am really glad, in any case,
that The Amphetameanies still sound so unmistakeably of 2-tone
from the island (Britain).
Thank you for this early Christmas present. The Amphetameanies
are the best neo-2-Tone band in the world."