EARL BRUTUS Tonight You Are The Special One (Fruition)

Earl Brutus, then. Taking their name from a fictional pub - "quite a rough sort of place but with a nice carvery on Sunday lunchtimes" - and believing themselves to be the rightful inheritors of Queen’s pomp-rock crown following the death of Freddie Mercury (hence the album and song title "Your Majesty We Are Here") they’re a geographically indeterminate quintet, one of whom is employed solely to shout at their audience in Japanese. They’ve been known to cover the theme from "Auf Wiedersehen Pet" in concert, and have released two singles on the Ice Rink label, curated by none other than Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley of the once-great Saint Etienne. Interested yet?

On this, their threateningly titled second album, Earl Brutus sound like early Roxy Music in a pub brawl, or The Fall doing glam rock, or maybe even a Moss Side Super Furry Animals, spiked by spiteful vocals and primitive electronics. It’s a heady, addictive brew that almost obfuscates the fact that many of the songs - try the singles "The SAS And The Glam That Goes With It", "Universal Plan" and "Come Taste My Mind" for evidence - are mid-paced chuggers. Nevertheless, they render the damaged synth-pop of "God, Let Me Be Kind" or "Male Wife"’s pure noise as even more effective by contrast.

Production assistance from the likes of Dave Ball (of The Grid and Soft Cell) and The Jesus And Mary Chain’s William Reid helps keep things interesting, though, and the odd effect such as the glorious church organ intro to the stompalong "Second Class War" (chorus "Anadin on Tuesday/Migralieve on Wednesday/Spent the weekend Ventolined/Burn your bra and start again") adds extra variety to proceedings. It can’t be denied that Earl Brutus have fashioned an interesting, good-if-not-brilliant second album, full of the unlikely combination of suppressed violence and glitter, and the music loving world eagerly awaits news of future EB offshoot projects, the prog rock band Willow Farm (!) and the folky New Dawn and Mary.