papa pilkoThere was a time when everybody wanted to be in the Cramps and Voodoobilly was a thing. As is the nature of trends, some excelled and many bands were terrible at it. Generally speaking, harking back to rock and roll’s earliest roots (which is all the Cramps were doing in their own extreme way) was a good thing to do because it opened up so many ears.

It’s all in the beat and although Papa Pilko and The Binrats want to bury themselves deep in a swamp they sound like they’ve washed up on the shores of Lake Michigan, somewhere near the Windy City. Not that this is a bad thing. Chicago Blues is cool to revel in and this Sydney six-piece immerse themselves deep. Remember, it’s all just labels anyway and there’s even a lashing of outlaw country stirred into the musical mix.

With three EPs under their belts, this is Papa Pilko and The Binrats’ first long-player and shows they have the kahones to pull off their schtick. It’s rendered with assurance and swagger. Papa don’t preach anything especially new but there are far less enjoyable ways to spend a morning in church.

Twin saxes and Cyrus Piko’s attention-getting vocal give opener “On Your Own” enough punch to show a heavyweight champ the way to the canvas. “Cocaine Sally” hitches a ride to a Bo Diddley beat and racks up a couple of thick ones. “Alone” might be the best of them all with its stabbing brass and rise-and-fall dynamics. Pilko brings the vocal home and also delivers on “Don’t Say Goodbye”, a soulful number where the sax really comes into its own.

“Shipwrecked” adds female backing vocals and quavering keyboards to a blues tune that’s been played a million times before. The evocative “Darlin’” is the murkiest song here and does drag us down on the bayou with its wailing harp and Diddley drums before the gospel backing vocals kick in.

“Till The End Of the Road:” covers a lot of stylitic ground in its travel and the production sounds primed for radio.


Buy a copy