Review: The Scaramanga Six – Songs Of Prey

If you asked the average person in the street to name a British band who have made a habit of recycling 70’s hard rock mixed in with a dash of humour, they would most probably come up with The Darkness. Yet a small percentage, possibly living in Yorkshire, would opt for The Scaramanga Six. The humour is clear from their self-effacing press release, in which they debunk the hyperbole and clichés that are so prevalent in the media. However, the proof of the music can be traced through their six albums so far, which manage to stretch out a formula with so much verve and melodicism it’s hard not to admire them.

Witness the opening statement to ‘Songs Of Prey’ for evidence of this band’s eagerness to entertain. An explosion of power chords and choral harmonies suggests nothing but Queen and the song maintains its heroically unsubtle approach with raging riffs and over the top vocals making for a rock opera beginning and this is just the first song, remember. Full throttle anthems such as ‘I Didn’t Get Where I Am Today’, ‘By-Product’, ‘Sophia In Blue’ (despite its theatrical interlude) and ‘Misadventure’ go straight for the jugular with some exciting guitar work to the fore.

Although it seems initially that The Scaramanga Six are a one-trick pony (albeit a very talented one) they produce two stunning pieces of music which reveal them to be great and versatile arrangers. Whilst last track ‘Pink And Blue’ plots an ambitious but successful route through rock, prog and pop, ‘Another Coward’ must surely be the defining moment in which they convey the power of Metallica and then top it off with a towering Bond theme of a chorus

Granted, there are a few times when the group miss the target but on a two-part album lasting just under a hour, a lapse is to be expected. For despite thinking the formula may have run out by this time, I found ‘Songs Of Prey’ just as invigorating as the last two albums and – just so I don’t offend anyone – they actually remind me more of The Stranglers’ early material than The Darkness.

Web Sites:
The Scaramanga Six Official Site
The Scaramanga Six MySpace

Further Listening:
The Stranglers, Queen, The Darkness, Being 747


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