This makes three good reviews in a row I've written! That's a first...but I do love Mclusky. Although you may remember I gave a slightly lukewarm review to the new band of Mclusky's former bassplayer, Shooting At Unarmed Men.
For many, this album will be a first introduction to the wonderful world of Mclusky. And that’s a real shame, as they’ll have missed three essential albums of puns, guitar breaking and noise making. One of the most underrated bands of recent memory, the Welsh three piece have been sorely missed since their split last year, and now dot the final "i" and cross the final "t" on their all too short and sweet career with this "best of" set.
Just like the band’s music, Mcluskyism is totally utilitarian: stripped down and bullshit free. It charts their progress chronologically from their first single, 2000’s aural brick-through-a-window, ‘Joy’, right up to their final album’s ‘Without MSG I’m Nothing’. As you’d expect of a band whose songs rarely exceeded three minutes, lean is the name of the game here: twelve tracks, half an hour, no messing. But that’s all you need to capture the essence of their scratchy Shellac roar.
‘To Hell With Good Intentions’ was always a Mclusky live favourite, and its chest-shaking bass distortion is as powerful now as it ever was. Like an anthem for all that they stood for, no other band could come out with anti-hipster couplets like "Our band is better than your band/we’ve got more songs than a song convention". Debut album highlight ‘Rice Is Nice’ hurtles past almost faster than you can hear it. And despite hints of – whisper it – a melody on some of the more recent tracks, every song is an Albini-produced breezeblock.
As with most "best of" collections, there’s nothing here for those who are already fans. They’re best off catching the very limited, very un-Mclusky 3 disc B-sides and rarities edition of Mcluskyism. But for anyone who wants to pretend that they were there first time round when Mclusky are revered as cult heroes in twenty years’ time, you won’t find a better education.