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new album. Released on Radioactive (through MCA) Records, a new label established by Deborah Harry’s New York management team (the Mackenzies were the label’s first signing) Hammer and Tongs is well worth the wait. Extending the tradition established by the band’s consistently strong previous releases, it is an immensely satisfying musical venture. coupling the dark, pointed sleekness of Good Deeds with the enigmatic allure of Fish Heads. It will not disappoint the group’s many fans. while the imminent single from the LP in Britain, ‘Now We are Married’, should win them new admirers. Leering and ominous, but with an ambiguoust sweet commerciality (in a Blue Velvet sense). the song is a conundrum, in typical Mackenzie fashion. Metcalfe explains: ‘Well. it's about the point where people decide to go for money rather than spirit. The old-fashioned idea of the devil —
being married to the devil‘s terrain and sacrificing ;
principles for the desire to be great. or to beloved a lot.’
In effect, then, the opposite of his own philosophy?
‘Yes, but there’s a point in everyone‘s life where principles get lost and the ego takes over, even if you don’t realise it. “Now We Are Married". though, is about someone intentionally doing that, saying, “Fuck it. I’m going to be evil and get what I want for a change." It‘s a sinister song.‘
It certainly is. Replete with Dylan ‘quotations‘ and menacing vocals, it whispers darkness at you through the pop coating, continuing the band‘s
own marriage to controversy and anti-anthems.
‘That’s quite true. But I really don‘t know why it always happens like that. Everyone has their own line 'offire as a human being, and ours is certainly not one of peace and brotherhood amongst men in that “wet” way. But it‘s not just bitterness. There‘s an understanding ofpleasure in all that we do as well. Like putting the phrase “eating beaver" in “The Rattler". That was forftm. to be naughty. saucy in a Carry 021 film way. It wasn't meant to be offensive and it isn 'I offensive. It‘s life.‘
And life. for Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, will shortly mean all eyes towards the beckoning Atlantic. Hammer and Tongs (an abridged version plus a couple of ‘greatest hits‘) will be their first US release in March, at which time the group will begin touring there. The future. as they say. looks good for Martin Metcalfe. but it always has done. Stardom. that evil spectre. is still just around the next corner. but it‘s a new corner. A fresh start. America. the home of the brave?
‘I do feel a bit worried. but at least we won‘t be just waiting around any more. Obviously, we‘re aware that there will be certain new pressures around ifwe‘re to make ourselves acceptable to an American market. We‘ll have to be careful. But I hope we‘ll have the guts to stick by our attitude. like we always have before. And I'm sure we will.’
Hammer and Tongs is released by M ( '.»l (m 4 March.
The List 25 January — 7 February WW 7