Whether it’s the snarling bass lines or the smooth, sensual, saxophone tones, it’s impossible to feel pure listening to Amphetamine Ballads. Even Mary would own a leather jacket and five-inch heels after this album.
The cold nights of Winter, fleeing to a desolate hotel, where they charge by the hour, with a women whose name escapes your mind, but her black lips and sultry fingers, placed around her Marlboro doesn’t. It’s dark and filthy, a cesspit for drug infested sex with bed sheets that are more piss and blood than cotton, but it’s a night filled with sweat, torment and pure pleasure. If you tried to summarise Amphetamine Ballads, then this would be a good way to go.
The whole album stinks of underground nightclubs, where dim, blue neon lights highlight pairs going at it like animals. I’m a Vampire welcomes you in with growls of aggression and knee crippling basses, then transgressing into Nighttime, the perfect example of what The Smiths could have been if Morrissey was more angry than, well Morrissey, not just because of the wails of ooh’s throughout.
Here It Comes Again, the lead single from Amphetamine, stalks silently through the darkness of the night, just as a tiger hides in bushes awaiting its prey. It lulls you in with a false sense of security (for those who hadn’t heard the song before the album), that this will be Amphetamine’s slow track. But after carefully planned plucks of a singular guitar, every aspect is infected with the essence of a vampire. A new lease of life is born, even if it’s coming from the undead.
Amphetamine’s second half, (the album’s last four tracks), turns into a post-midnight, lonely soul, in a bottomless bit of destruction. It’s not quite Post-Punk, more Pre-Post-Punk. Position this in between The Ramones and Joy Division and history would finally have its answer for the sinking ship that was punk transitioning to more emotionally gripping sounds.
However Amphetamine’s true masterpiece comes from the seven minutes of pure, atmospheric, gritty, sexy, give me even more, that is Every Guy Wants To Be Her Baby. It’s as much a cliché for a song that passes the five-minute mark, even six, to be a slow burner. Starting off with little twigs, moving to branches, before someone says enough and grabs a canister of gasoline and ignites the whole place alight. But it’s glorious, a feast for the eyes, the ears in this case. It’s a slow burner, with four minutes of Every Man being an easy paced, catch your breath after twenty-four minutes of in your face punk. Smooth, suggestive, jazz tones take charge, with the creepy, malevolent vocals, teasing you to runaway or enjoy the dark side. Then the second coming arrives. You’re blood runs thick through your body, pumping to every crevice inside, ensuring nowhere is in short supply so that your body can be truly destroyed. Guitar tones seize control of the jazz elements, now this malevolent voice has turned into an aspect of pure horror, put a sense of horror that freezes your blood-rushed body to its core as you can’t help but stand still and be devoured, by your new ultimate desire. Pissed off men from Glasgow.
Common ideologies have it that, to be desirable , you need to have a certain charm, a tempting tone, demanding features, and a huge, wallet. That is for the modern man. The modern woman is sexually submissive, yet can tempt you with her sexual desires, to imprison you in her death-trap. Amphetamine Ballads is each side of modern desirability. It has the features you so lustfully demand for, tempting you in with its growling basses, sensual jazz tones, cruel Glaswegian vocals and it’s pure, effortless punk magic. So get comfortable, relax, and let these Glaswegian Punks show you 48 minutes you’ll never forget.