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The Deviants: Reissues

Defiantly deranged triptych from Mick Farren’s Apocalyptic Horsemen.

Incensed, anarchic and socialistically inclined writer/rocker, the recently deceased Deviants frontman Mick Farren was an epoch-spanning rabble-rouser.

His 1968 counter-cultural anthem Let’s Loot The Supermarket – represented live on 1999’s The Deviants Have Left The Planet (610) – could have soundtracked riots in any era. When it came to mangling Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker in far-flung – and all too real – horror-struck, sci-fi scenarios, The Deviants lead the way.

Like his literary hero William Burroughs, Farren specialised in hot-wired, time-shredding connections, and Andy Colquhoun’s telegram-to-the-moon guitaring on Dr. Crow’s (710) psyched-out sea chanty The Murdering Officer fitted that programme to a T. As befits a man who expired in pursuit of his craft on stage at London’s Borderline, Mickey’s work paid special attention to end times.

Thus the scabrous Aztec Calendar that opens Barbarian Princes (710), a lurid and celebratory Japanese close-of-the-century show (complete with DVD – look away now, kids). The Beatles (Strawberry Fields Forever) and Dylan (It’s Alright Ma) covers are excessive, true, but the evidence shows these counter-culture heroes kept their humour and commendable strangeness alive to the very end. The time to encounter it is never too late.