Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons – Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons (Motörhead Music)

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons – Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons (Motörhead Music)

Early days but there's still plenty to like about this debut EP...

Once you’ve stopped laughing at the amusing band name – Motörhead alumnus Phil Campbell is back, performing in a band with his 3 sons! Arf! – you’ll doubtless be pleased that the affable Welsh axe wizard has put his grief at the loss of his fallen mentor behind him and got back on the horse. I certainly am, and I was very curious to hear what he’d come up with with his version of the offspring…

The whole concept behind this release is a good one – Campbell could easily have slipped into some sort of old lags confederacy as a safe option for this release, and it’s definitely interesting to see him at the head of a fresh, hungry pack, but sometimes the music doesn’t quite live up to the legend at this point.

When it does – on the only track ‘head fans will recognise as being anything like the day job, the Motörizerish  No Turning Back – all seems to be right with the world. The stumbling block here is vocalist Neil Starr, who doesn’t quite have enough heft in his throat to ram the song home; that said Starr’s more modern-sounding approach fits the other material perfectly, so he’ll clearly grow into the role as the band moves further away from it’s Lemular roots over time.

And what of the other material? First single Big Mouth is a bit of a rabble rouser, whereas the balladic Lost in Space is anything but. Starr here sounds a little bit like compatriot Matt Davies of Funeral for a Friend (in his indie-rock Tales Don’t Tell Themselves persona), his smooth, clear vocal perhaps a pointer to where this is all leading in the future. Take Aim is a pleasant, classily restrained rocker whose ‘hit me with your best shot’ refrain lodges itself in the brain after only a couple of listens. The muscularity of Spiders rounds out the quintet with a pleasantly doomy air to the riffage that’s sure to appeal to long term Campbell aficionados.

Me? I prefer a bit of grunt, a bit less polish, but it would be foolish to expect Campbell to simply trot out a set of Motörhead lite first time out; within those parameters you’d have to say PCatBS is a good enough start, and certainly it leaves the listener keen to see where the band goes next. It’s good to have Campbell back, and nice to meet the family!

Scott Adams
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