What In The World by The ProfessionalsRelease date: October 27, 2017
Label: Automation Records
There most probably would have been lengthy long odds putting a bet on the ex-Sex Pistols Paul Cook and Steve Jones’ band The Professionals getting it together again. Originally formed after their legendary band’s implosion, within a short spell of a few singles and a debut album they literally did crash ‘n’ burn in 1982 with both a car crash in Minneapolis whilst on an American tour, plus a concurrent downward spiral of drug related issues.
But, in 2017 they have indeed returned with a new album, albeit with only Paul Cook at the helm with former Yo Yo’s guitarist/vocalist Tom Spencer taking on both frontman, and co-writing responsibilities alongside Paul. Although not officially in the band Steve Jones has given this reincarnation his full blessing and guest stars on three of the 10 tracks What in the World offers.
Along with Steve Jones the albums boasts an impressive glut of guest star guitarists – Mick Jones (Clash), Marco Pirroni (Adam and the Ants), Billy Duffy (The Cult), Duff Mckagen, (Guns ‘n’ Roses), Phil Collen (Def Leppard), and Chris McCormack (3 Colours Red) – whom lay down their chops without ever trying to showboat or steal the show by professionally just doing what is right for The Professionals punky pub rock outbursts. Tom Spencer’s gravel throated rasping vocals are a perfect fit for providing grit and infectious singalong tunage. And, of course, it is all propelled by Paul Cook’s steady hard thumping drum beats, combine it all, it transpires into a rollicking set of very British, footy terraced, classic structured, friendly singalong anthems.
This is by no means breaking new ground but instead it is business as usual, even after 36 years in a new line-up, reassuringly at once familiar, a throwback to a time and a generation who like nothing better than a good singalong while merrily bouncing and jumping around. But it is also the sound of a contented gathering of wiser, successful, mature men rather than the imaginable surrounding chaos of the original young punk upstarts.
Unsurprisingly, the sound of the Sex Pistols is always just a couple of verses away with recognisable thick, chunky guitars, and a driving rhythm section as on up-tempo belter ‘Let Go’. In fact, all the songs, the exception being the personal sounding introspection of a relationship in peril on ‘Bad Baby’, are incredibly upbeat, good-spirited rousers. Even when Tom is singing about the sobering thought of the ageing process regarding memory loss on ‘Rewind’. ‘Take Me Now’ has a delightful, cheerful chorus, and is awe-aspiring in its listening simplicity. And the same goes with their much-missed legends David Bowie and Lemmy tribute ‘Going Going Gone’, as it will have you tapping along and smiling thinking of all the many good listening pleasures those musical heroes have supplied over the years.
What in the World has, surprisingly, for this reviewer become an accompanying favourite to cook the evening meal to. And this is a sizzling fry-up of a compliment (sorry!). The unlikely comeback of the year, Paul Cook’s The Professionals, along with friends and admirers, have produced a most enjoyable album.