Album review: THE NEW FORBIDDEN – Songs From The Subway (Loyd Grossman and Valentine Guinness)

THE NEW FORBIDDEN - Songs From the Subway

Cadiz Music [Release date 04.05.18]

The roots of The New Forbidden, a band led by Through The Keyhole / Masterchef presenter, and pasta sauce entrepreneur Loyd Grossman (OBE), can be traced back to his formative years reviewing for American underground mags and Rolling Stone.

But it was when he came to the UK to study at the London School Of Economics that the first iteration emerged – Jet Bronx And The Forbidden – a band born in the punk explosion and scoring a Top 50 hit with the single ‘Ain’t Doin’ Nothin” in 1977.

Of course he went on to be prominent ‘on the box’, and after a successful TV career, it was an ‘out of the blue’ promoter’s request to bring back the band, that saw its resurrection, this time with pal, and Guinness heir, Valentine Guinness on vocals and lyric duties.

An album Ain’t Doin’ Nothin’ ensued in 2010 and the band’s gigs included punk festivals, and repeated Glastonbury performances.  It’s fair to say the album hasn’t left much of a lasting mark on the face of music history, but if contemporary mainstream press reports are to be believed it was a set full of memorable riffs, sneered vocals, and rock ‘n’ roll attitude.

Fast forward eight years and here we have the follow up – Songs From The Subway.  Older, and perhaps wiser, Grossman and Guinness remain true to their punk/new wave roots, but there’s more of an indie vibe to the album, which conjures up images more of Morrissey and Paul Heaton, than Johnny Rotten and Rat Scabies.

It’s a deliberately lo-fi affair, and Guinness’ clean mic vocals are something you’ll either love or hate.  And Grossman is, perhaps surprisingly, a pretty decent guitarist – nothing flashy but, like Guinness’s vocals, that was never the point of punk.  It was get up there, have a good time, and express yourself.

And that pretty much sums up Songs From The Subway.  It’s an album that would be entirely enjoyable in a club or pub.  It wouldn’t even be out of place on a Radio 2 playlist.

Even if it’s not going to earn Lloyd a[nother] gong for ‘services to music’, it’s refreshingly unpretentious.  And what’s more, he does a mean jar of pasta sauce.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

The New Forbidden play Nells Jazz And Blues, 1 North End Crescent, London W14 8TG on Thursday 14 June (7-9pm)

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