Andrew Petrie – instruments, production
Paul Hamilton – songs, voice
After three albums of improvised songs with Bisonics and Doug Murphy, Hamilton wanted a change. Some of his compositions required actual arrangements and he approached Petrie – a sundry-instrumentalist of extreme ability – with the suggestion they form a two-man band. With Petrie’s perfectionist sensibilities and Hamilton’s casual approach, they foresaw the results as ‘Steely Dan Meets Tommy Steele’. They weren’t far off the mark.
Hamilton recorded demos of his songs – which he did, to the keyboard accompaniment of Jason Emberton, who had mixed various Smoking Ant releases – and handed them to Petrie who would play all the instruments and take total control of the production.
Such was Petrie’s chameleonic ability to adopt almost any musical style, Relaxing At Gunpoint almost sounds like a Various Artists compilation. There is the Dylan ’65 wild mercury sound on You Came Round, the XTC-cedelia of Waves Of Words, and Steely Dan are scammed royally on British Empire State. However, this isn’t merely a parade of Pop parodies. Let Me Paint A Picture For You, beneath its summery surface, is a unique song about the ambivalence of Art’s relationship with Commerce. And Kolibri – voiced by Joseph Goebbels on the Night Of The Long Knives – is a chilling condemnation of humanity’s most vile instinct, blood lust.
Jazz Cattle’s album was criticised for a cold sterility and absence of spontaneity (which is understandable in the one-man-orchestra circumstances), and of emotion taking a backseat while Petrie and Hamilton tried to out-clever one another. Perhaps, but a positive note was struck by the employment of ex-Horrible Head guitarist Dave Pope designing the cover. His reuniting with Hamilton led to the far looser and happier Yellowjack…
The original demos bore such little resemblance to Petrie’s finished works that they were pressed up as CDs. A copy of the Kolibri demos CD will be given absolutely free, while stocks last, to purchasers of Relaxing At Gunpoint.
Relaxing At Gunpoint [10-song d/l and CD album] (2012)
Kolibri [9-song CD of ‘Relaxing At Gunpoint’ demos] (2012)*