All Messed Up (Independent)
Best known as the lead guitarist with No Fun, “the Beatles of Surrey”, Paul Leahy shows a different side on Polly’s All Messed Up: turns out he’s been plotting a one-man hard-glam revival. He’s obviously been practising his Bowie-isms and studying the Mott the Hoople back catalogue for songwriting strategies, although if he’s been experimenting with makeup, spandex and/or platform shoes the CD art gives nothing away.
Leahy’s sneery, smirky, snarly bitch-in-heat vocals and glowing guitar tone perfectly suit the form, and there’s a pulsing, sexy bounce to his “Put a Little English On It” that would make it sound right at home between T.Rex and Slade on a mix tape. Given that Leahy does everything on the disc himself, it’s not quite clear how live performances work, but Pointed Sticks vocalist Nick Jones has gone on record to say that Polly live is “the closest you’ll get to seeing David Bowie in the early ’70s”, and you get the feeling that the stage is where this material would really shine.
On the other hand, if the very concept of a glam revival makes you gaze heavenward and mouth the word “Why”, this album will do nothing to convert you to the cause. It’s best audience will likely either be people who already have a dozen Bowie, Mott the Hoople, and T.Rex albums in their collections—or those now scratching their heads and asking “Mott the who?”