“shedloads of catchy tunes and bucketloads of observational lyrics. Hang on to your hats – it’s a belter!”
– Under The Radar
“A riotous example of the lean, spiky guitar-driven sound that the four piece have been perfecting. Westmoreland portrays seething paranoia, dark thoughts and strange goings on – possibly imagined, possibly not – all bubbling away behind the closed doors and apparent calm of suburbia”
– Louder Than War
On 17 November 2023 Micko And The Mellotronics are to release their second album, Le Vice Anglais. Continuing their unique art-punk singer-songwriter style, the record features Budge Magraw (Cesarians/Gretschen Hofner) and Horace Panter (The Specials) on bass, Paul Cuddeford (Holy Holy/Boomtown Rats) on lead guitar, Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey) on brass, actor/comedian Kevin Eldon (Fist of Fun, Brass Eye, It’s Kevin), guitarist Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno/Florence & The Machine) and Mike Paradinas (µ-ziq, Kid Spatula). The 11 track album will be preceded by two singles and videos, with the first, (What’s in a) Name, featuring Kevin Eldon duetting on vocals and coming out on 25 August.
The Mellotronics formed in 2017 with the intention of turning Micko Westmoreland’s songwriting skills into a dynamic live prospect, and released their debut album 1/2 Dove 1/2 Pigeon in 2020.
Since then they’ve been busy cutting their teeth with a series of shows around the capital and beyond, making return visits to the 100 Club in Oxford Street and earning multiple requests for support slots from acts as established as Evan Dando (Lemonheads), David Devant & His Spirit Wife, Blue Orchids, Sheep on Drugs, The Television Personalities and The Monochrome Set. Bringing a new dimension of sharp and economic post-punk/new wave attitude to the diverse Westmoreland songbook, they’ve been already been favourably compared to The Jam, Pil, Wire, XTC and Pulp as well as the mean, lean but undeniably powerful sound of Idles or Shame.
An actor and musician, front-man and songwriter Micko was signed to Trent Reznor’s Nothing Records in the early noughties and is already well known for his releases as ambient dance solo artiste The Bowling Green and for guitar art-pop albums under his own moniker. Micko also played a major role in the fictionalised glam rock movie Velvet Goldmine alongside Ewan MacGregor and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. He is also a member charity-findraising covers group The Spammed with Rat Scabies, Horace Panter and the late, great Neil Innes.
The new incarnation of The Mellotronics sees Micko’s rabble-rousing vocals and spiky, agitational guitar work augmented perfectly by the crack squad of drummer JD Kickdrum and Budge Magraw providing the attitude driven solid bassline.
“The band was in transition as I was making the record, as a couple of players had moved out of town”, says Micko, “so I called up Horace Panter who I’ve worked with a lot. Horace came to record when his band had to cancel recording commitments in LA due to Terry Hall’s illness, and recorded seven for me in two sessions. I’d been aware of Paul Cuddeford too through Tony Visconti, by chance he showed up at gig. We chatted afterwards and I mentioned that I had a guitar solo that he might like to have a bash at. He set me the blistering (What’s in a) Name, and the rest of the collaborations followed from there.”
“I was still on the look-out for a permanent bass player and remembered a post on social media by Budge Magraw. I sent him a message and he loved the material, he’s a fantastic player and finished the album playing on the remaining five tracks, he’s a joy to hang out with, 24 Carrots! I’d lucked out with Budge” he adds. “I’d been hustling long-term friend Leo Abrahams to have ago at soloing on the track Big Game. Again, similar to Paul, the work turned up quick and was of excellent quality. I turned to my old programming skills from when I used to make electronica for the beats and called in a favour from Mike Paradinas from the same stable, who did the voice treatment at the start of Kid From Nowhere”
Unafraid to put some of the world’s peculiarities and his own observations under the microscope, Micko And The Mellotronics match their infectious art-punk sound with lyrics that are erudite and entertaining, laced with innumerable references to pop culture, philosophy, history and more.
“I called the album Le Vice Anglais”, Micko explains, “after being invited to the Tribeca film festival in New York for the screening of the 25th Anniversary of Velvet Goldmine last year. It’s a line from the film where the character I play, Jack Fairy, is described as a courtesan. It chimed with me as the album is particularly English. It plays with observations about class, identity, masculinity and sexuality amongst others. It’s self conscience too, as it’s a title which reflects on how we are perceived by others.”
Le Vice Anglais was mastered by veteran specialist Simon Heyworth of Tubular Bells fame and all recorded at home.
Available on CD and digital formats, the album will be released on Micko’s own Land Line Records and distributed through Republic of Music.