If the first rule of Rock'n'Roll is authenticity, then Lucy Joplin is already way ahead of the pack. Her mother died when Lucy was only 13 and since then she's lived a precarious, if often exciting life filled with time in hostels, evictions and addictions and motherhood, all washed down with lashings of Rock'n'Roll attitude.
Lucy has kept a diary religiously since that traumatic time at age 13 and it provides her with much of the source material for her début album 'Rock Kicks' with her self-explanatory new band LUCY'S DIARY. Her musical lieutenant is guitarist JJ Crash from the East London anti-folk scene, though her producer Ian Button also played guitar for Death In Vegas and veteran Indie types like meself will also remember bassist John Saltwell and drummer Martin Langshaw from The Perfect Disaster. One of the UK's great lost bands, no less.
With pedigree of this nature on hand, one would hope 'Rock Kicks' would have at least something going for it and so it proves. It's no classic, but its' jagged guitars, scuzzy Indie warmth and candid lyrics dealing with love, loss, betrayal, temptation and excess all conspire to ensure it has some glorious moments.
Recent single 'Not Your Type At All' is mostly certainly one of these. Excitable, charming and arrogant all at once, it's full of vivid, daring imagery (“do you remember how we used to fuck?/ how beautiful we looked when we woke up?”) and allied to Lucy's sassy vocals which are in the same ballpark as Justine Frischmann or a young Courtney Love.
It's not the only time I'm impressed. 'You Can't Come In, I'm Dead' and the brooding and malevolent 'Less of Me' (“you get a little death each time”) are finely-wrought, hell hath no fury, pop mini-epics, while the title track (“I think my nurse might kill me, hold back, wait and see”) sounds dangerously unhinged and the randy and obsessive 'Targets' is the most adventurous-sounding thing here with a Love-style mariachi twist permeating the atmosphere.
The dirty spontaneity is an important part of the record's charm, though there are a few occasions ('Jumped Into The Sea' and 'Dirty & Smudged' especially) where it all sounds a bit too basic and unfinished for its' own good. However, there's a determined, bullish energy springing from virtually everything here and that's usually enough to see it through.
Vicarious, volatile and often desperately needing to be loved, 'Rock Kicks' sometimes falls short on finesse, but it's relentlessly real and that's always a quality I admire. Let's hope Lucy Joplin keeps those diary entries coming.
Lucy's Diary on Myspace