Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell – Check ’em Before You Wreck ’em

Rating:  3.5/5
Distributor/label: Rise Above Records
Released:            31 March 2014
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1.    Do It Now
2.    2 Tonne F*ckboot
3.    Captain Merryweather
4.    Running From Home
5.    Happiness Begins
6.    Shaker Your Head
7.    Don’t Hear it…. Fear it!
8.    Bulletproof
9.    The Thicker the Better
10.    Late Night Mornings

Band line-up:

Johnny Gorilla – Vocals/Guitar
Louis Comfort-Wiggett – Bass
Bill Darlington – Drums




Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell are a self proclaimed ‘Grease Rock’ band from Hastings, England.  They released “Check ’em Before You Wreck ’em” through Rise Above Records at the end of last mont
The opening track, “Do It Now”, is a hard rock groove number.  The guitars and bass follow each other in unison, and it’s easily one of the best tunes on the album.  It even goes off in a tangent to let some lead guitar breathe its magic.  There’s a trade off between the drums, bass and guitar before the conclusion, too.  Some brilliant playing by bassist Louis Comfort-Wiggett.

“2 Tonne F*ckboot”, starts in a similar manner; though with a hint of progressive rock.  Singer and guitarist Johnny Gorilla belts out his vocals with a characteristic roar.  Bill Darlington, the drummer, punctuates every pocket of potential silence with blasting yet intricate drums.

Song number three, “Captain Merryweather”, is a brooding track; sinisterly melancholic.  It goes on to flit between doomy brooding as displayed in the introduction, to a frenetic time change.  After some hammed up drama, a scintillating solo follows.  A subsequent guitar solo outdoes its predecessor, which takes a fair bit of doing.  Even the drums and bass lock in superbly on this one.

The album carries on with “Running From Home”, which is in the vein of Stone Temple Pilots back in the day; with a little bit of Led Zeppelin shoved in for good measure.  The dynamics of good song writing are shown in this one, with the drums given air for atmospheric silence before guitar and bass cut back in again.
Following that is “Happiness Begins” is busy, bluesy and ballsy.  Like Electric Wizard on speed, it’s exciting to listen to.
Then comes “Shaker Your Head”.  Speed takes a backseat, with an emphasis on groove.  Again, the bass shines as you get to hear it in its crunchy entirety.

“Don’t Hear it…. Fear it!” almost cuts a lone figure on this album. It has a frantic, punkish immediacy to start with. Then it slows down, like a metal punk thrash prototype.  Things get quite interesting halfway through, with a time change that’s most peculiar; yet aurally pleasing.  There are at least, seemingly, three genres in this one song!
Track eight “Bulletproof” has a vague air of early Black Sabbath; the vocals tellingly, at times, following the guitar work.  There’s a pretty cool upping of the pace; a chugging riff that keeps the head nodding before the guitar solo kicks in.  The rhythm section gets pretty wild, too.  It’s an all out rocker that from thereon never ceases to surprise and please in equal measure.

“The Thicker the Better” kicks off with a brief drum fill.  It’s similar, in terms of tempo, to “Bulletproof” and this is most welcome for head banging value.  The verses are fast and the choruses not so.
Finally, “Late Night Mornings”, is slow and creepy.  Then comes the blues rock groove.
The vocals are slightly distorted and overdriven, which suits the gritty nature of the track.  Halfway in and the riffs pick up the pace, and the song gets thrashy; which is always welcome for some excitement.  The only criticism is the progressive continuation of this same song really should’ve been made track eleven.

All in all, the album is reasonably consistent in its delivery with not too much experimental delving.  When this is the case it doesn’t grate too much stylistically, though it must be said the initial punk energy of “Don’t Hear it…. Fear it!” is a bit out of place.  Also, as said, “Late Night Mornings” tries to be too clever and is one song that really should’ve been split in two.

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell don’t exactly break the mould, but are needless to say an absolute pleasure to listen to.  There’s the right mix of technical dexterity and the full on excitement of something akin to the thrash of early Metallica and Megadeth.

Review by Andrew Watson