ALBUM REVIEW: The Inklings – Bricolage (self-released)

The Inklings are a fairly new band to the North East music scene, but two members of the three-piece might seem familiar to those who follow it closely.

That’s because Darren Thomas (guitar and vocals) and Mick McGee (bass and vocals) are two of the main men in Teesside punk rockers Zeitgeist 77, who have been around for the last decade and enjoyed high-profile support slots with the likes of Skids, Stiff Little Fingers and The Vibrators.

They’re joined in The Inklings by Daz’s son James on drums and keyboards, and the trio have more of a post-punk/indie rock sound than Z77’s guitar-led old-school punk.

He must be a prolific fella, as Bricolage is their third album, after debut The Dunning Kruger Effect in 2019 and This Time For Real, in April 2020.

The standout track of the 12 on offer here is probably lead single Dirty Town, which extols the virtues of their hometown, Billingham.

But there’s plenty more to enjoy: Opener Minefield has a Talking Heads feel to it, driven by an insistent bassline, while Too Vain To Die reminds me of Madness.

It’s A Long Road is set to a rockabilly beat, while Flags Are Flying, complete with keyboard flourishes, should appeal to fans of The Stranglers.

Crazy Lady is a rockier song where Daz gets to cut loose a little, while Two Storms Collide is Killing Joke-like, thanks to its pounding drums and angular shards of guitar.

Finest Face is the nearest thing here to a Zeitgeist 77 song, examining the impact on victims of private sex tapes being shared on the internet.

All in all, a very listenable album, and one that’s sufficiently different enough to Z77 to merit interest. You can get Bricolage direct from The Inklings via their Facebook page HERE. 7/10.

Gary Welford owner