INCA BABIES – SWAMP STREET SOUL
A SPILL EXCLUSIVE ALBUM PREMIERE
Ever the prolific music maverick, Harry Stafford may have only just released his latest Bone Architecture’ album with punk / blues veteran Marco Butcher a few months ago, but he’s not one for sitting idle. With as much pent-up energy (and accumulated recordings) as he has from the past year of on-and-off lockdown games, he is back to delight us with not only just new music, but the FIRST album from his band Inca Babies in seven years.
With elements of their music recalling such artists as Link Wray and Birthday Party, as well as The Gun Club, The Stooges and fellow Mancunians The Membranes, led by John Robb, it’s no wonder that they continue their sonic trip under the wing of producer Simon ‘Ding’ Archer, well known for his work with The Fall and PJ Harvey, at 6Db Studios, the clarity and fullness of sound on this 11-track offering surpasses that of any previous Inca release.
Swamp Street Soul is the eighth studio album from the long-running Manchester underground music collective, which has now become narrowed down to the triumvirate of Harry Stafford (guitar, keys, vocals), bassist Vince Hunt (A Witness, Blue Orchids) and Rob Haynes (The Membranes, Goldblade) on drums and percussion.
Coming in like a hurricane and tastefully blending rock, grunge, punk and blues, the Incas serve up unhinged sophistication and moody textures. The band packs a big punch, their high octane sound loaded with adrenaline and spunk – the kind of music that sticks in your head, leaving you wondering why, if this music is so dark, why does it feel so good?
Back to basics, this long-player offers a big load of that trademark death-rock grit sound they’ve uniquely developed since the band was launched, way back in 1983. And it’s about time – this is the first peeps of Inca Babies since the final album in their Death Blues Trilogy, comprised of Death Message Blues (2010), Deep Dark Blue (2012) and The Stereo Plan’ (2014).
Swamp Street Soul takes us across a tightly euphoric path of differing moods and new arenas of guitar songwriting. This LP continues the band’s explosive exploration of goth-punk and death-rock and trash blues with epic cautionary ballads. Frontman Harry Stafford has written a fulsome collection of tall tales of madness, fearfully larger-than-life characters and extravagant yarns, backed by a no-nonsense rhythm section locked into a pounding backbeat.
The trio also present their new video for “Crawling Garage Gasoline'”(along with b-side “Grunt Cadillac Hotel”, produced by Harry Stafford at NoiseBoy Studios in Salford. Earlier, the Incas previewed lead track “Walk In The Park” with a strutting blues beat, infectious guitar lick and bluesy post-punk musings.
“This ‘Crawling Garage Gasoline’ is a re visiting of a 1980s Inca’s classic, all bluster and ‘pedal to the metal’ speed punk. It’s a tale of the descent into the maelstrom but don’t forget to get some gas along the way. The urge to re-record this came from its popularity as a live song at recent Inca gigs, now paired down and with more bite, it has certainly stood the test of time. It was originally released on the Surfin’ in Locustland EP back in 1985 and was also recorded for the Incas’ third John Peel session in June that year,” says Harry Stafford.
A vibrant part of Britain’s early postpunk / death rock scene, Inca Babies’ story began in 1983 in the now-legendary deck-access flats of Hulme (Manchester), which were intended as ‘cities in the sky’ for young executives but quickly became cockroach-infested slums mostly inhabited by students, artists, and drug addicts. True to DIY ethos, they self-released their debut single ‘Interior’ in 1984.
With a further six singles and four albums over five years, all of which entered the UK Indie Charts, they also recorded four sessions for BBC’s John Peel show in 1984-1988 before calling it quits. Since reforming in 2007, they’ve released three albums and toured extensively around Europe, including Russia, as well as North America and India. Renewed interest in the Incas was propelled by Cherry Red Records “Best Of” compilation release Inca Babies 1983-87: Plutonium.
As of November 23, the Swamp Street Soul’ album will be available digitally everywhere, including Spotify and Apple Music. You can also get it directly from the band as a download or on CD at https://incababies1.bandcamp.com/album/swamp-street-soul.
Harry Stafford – guitar, vocals
Vince Hunt – bass
Rob Haynes – drums
Kevin Davy – trumpet
Black Lagoon Records catalogue #BLRCD0058
Photography by Steve Nicholl
Harry Stafford takes us for a quick walk through the new album:
Here are a couple of older tracks to check out:
Swamp Street Soul
(Black Lagoon Records)
Release Date: November 23, 2021