I’m sure I’m not alone when I relive my first experience of listening to “Never Mind the Bollocks”, being nailed to a beached chair while a musical tsunami heads your way through the speakers might be overdoing it but you get my point. The Professionals have a quarter of the original Sex Pistols, the engine room that gave the power behind Steve Jones unique guitar. I’m not saying the new Professionals album “What in the World” is up at that level of Never Mind the Bollocks, but the bloodline is strong and so are the 10 tracks they have put down.
Originals Paul Cook and Paul Myers complimented the Professionals sound by asking Tom Spencer to take hold of the mic and take over guitar, an excellent decision as his dried out vocals give the band that edge when playing those new tracks. Unfortunately Steve Jones is not manipulating the 6 strings on a regular basis but has added his talents to the album, along with Mick Jones (The Clash), Duff McKagen (Guns ‘n’ Roses), Marco Pirroni (Adam & The Ants), Phil Collen (Def Leppard), and Billy Duffy (The Cult) Chris McCormack (3 Colours Red). With all that talent and experience involved there is no need for gimmicks or fancy press releases, this album is very much about the music and the rest pales into insignificance.
The first song on any album can’t be an easy decision to make, but I think that they chose well with “Good Man Down”. Its melodic, powerful and growls an intro to the listener that really is the bands sound, it hooks you like a lasso with a sing-along chorus that corkscrews your ear with sound. Age has not hampered the beat of Mr Cook as it’s still as powerful and impeccably timed as it was when he was unleashing some anarchy over the UK, the driving bass behind the riffs are a match for those early Professional tracks. You can hear those guest guitarists coming through the whole album with some gems of quality, this is seen in the next track “Let’s Go” where it rages on at a Ramones pace before being rudely interrupted by a six string antagonist doing what he does best. An unexpected subject brings the pace down but not quite to a siesta, “Extremadura” takes you through the Spanish regions magical charm and timeless history with a rough haunting melody. It’s more of a meandering song that replicates a stroll in the Spanish countryside, with the history of battles, torture and death lingering in the background. Memories of the Professionals early tracks come flooding back with “Rewind” where killer harmonies and a chorus make this a highlight; Tom’s rasping vocal and repetitive guitar work compliment the lyrics perfectly. The ability to drop the pace again with the sinister “Bad Baby is reminiscing of a horror lullaby, with clanging echoes and anticipation creeping around every word. It’s back on the throttle as the album ends with “Monkey” an attack on the instruments like they were 21 again, with the same aggression and conviction that Paul Cook’s previous band showed back in 1977.
These guys may be getting on a bit and not throwing tantrums and instruments around a stage anymore, they are now Professionals but this album proves they still have the Bollocks to create chaos wrapped up in a melody. The Professionals have used all the ammunition they have gained over the years to push aside and barge through some of the mediocrity we pretend is worthy of a Punk label and remind us that expectations should be high.