mclusky were born in 1998 when Andy Falkous (vocals) and Mat Harding (drums) met one another while working in a call centre in Cardiff, Wales. They called themselves Best but that was short-lived. They did manage, however, to release a single, Huwuno, before changing their name and recruiting Jon Chapple on bass. So begins their tale.
Unlike most bands at the time, they had no aspirations to become ‘Britpop’. They preferred Pixies, Shellac and The Fall to Ocean Colour Scene’s warblings, Oasis’s dadrock or Echobelly’s crapness. Who can blame them?
Viva Minor Legends
The public beyond the Welsh capital first became aware of them when, in 2000, they released their debut album (on local label, Fuzzbox), My Pain And Sadness Is More Sad And Painful Than Yours. Contained on there were the singles Joy and Rice Is Nice among other short and sharp sweetness. Ears began pricking up in their direction.
London Whine Company
From there, they moved to Too Pure records (previous home for, amongst others, PJ Harvey, Stereolab and Hefner) who, in turn, wasted no time is shipping them off to the US to work with one of their heroes, Steve Albini. The results were astounding.
“Keep Your Killing Clean”
In just one week, Steve Albini had recorded their second album, the excellent mclusky Do Dallas. This album spawned the singles To Hell With Good Intentions, Alan Is A Cowboy Killer and Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues and, for the first time, someone had caught on tape the raw energy of mclusky live. Loud and spitting blood, few tracks hit the two-minute mark.
The World Loves Us And Is Our Bitch
At the same time, the band had started to gain an audience internationally and soon they were playing gigs and festivals in far-flung places all over the US, Europe and Australia. mclusky had arrived.
You Should Be Ashamed Seamus
Before even the dust from Do Dallas had settled, the band were hard at work on new material. 2003 saw two brand new singles in the UK, There Ain’t No Fool In Ferguson / 1956 And All That and Undress For Success. Unfortunately, relations between the band became strained at the same time and this resulted in Mat leaving for pastures new. A new drummer, Jack Egglestone, joined just in time for a headline UK tour which finished with a captivating Reading festival show. Nothing was lost. In fact, they’re a better band for it.
“I don’t like it but my kids will”
2004 and things are definitely back on track. Their third album, The Difference Between Me And You Is That I’m Not On Fire, was released. Yet again, it was recorded by Steve Albini in Chicago but this time it’s a darker affair with some tracks straying in to the four minute territory; marking out a new direction for the band.
mclusky are dead.
Having somehow managed to last three albums together (they did lose a drummer en route mind) and performing countless gigs around the world before their almost inevitable implosion, good news comes with there still being time for one final act of defiance from the Cardiff trio.
a lasting testament to one of the most under-rated UK bands of recent years. Either a run-of-the-mill ‘Best Of’ or a limited edition, comprehensive 3CD retrospective of A-sides, B-sides and C-sides (rarities and live versions), there’s no arguing that ‘mcluskyism’ isn’t a suitable way to end to their story.