Benny Profane Trapdoor Swing/Dumb Luck Charm

Taking their name from Thomas Pynchon’s impenetrable novel V, Liverpool’s Benny Profane appeared from the ashes of admired band the Room. They spent their early days hanging around with the likes of the Fall, the Woodentops and Echo & the Bunnymen, even managing to convince Will Sargeant to play guitar on their demo. The company they kept definitely had an influence on their sound, as did the infamous C-86 music scene that they skirted around. It took them more than four years to get around to releasing their first album, Trapdoor Swing, although they had gathered a following thanks to a couple of singles and Peel Sessions. But it was worth the wait — singer Dave Jackson was in fine form as he yelped his way through ten songs, some of which even hint at the countrified path that Jackson was going to end up following with his Mekon-esque band, the Dead Cowboys. Dumb Luck Charm came out a year later in 1990, and while it wasn’t quite as strong as its predecessor, it was just as good as anything that James, the Mighty Lemon Drops or any more highly-touted contemporary were releasing. Ultimately, Benny Profane just got their act together a little too late. By the time their debut album appeared, the musical tides were changing in the UK and their brand of jangly pop music was being rapidly overtaken by the likes of Happy Mondays and their ilk and the band didn’t even make it to the end of 1990. Nevertheless, both their albums have stood the test of time, and while they might never be anything more than a cult band, the years have been very kind to Benny Profane and this compilation is a very pleasant listen indeed. (LTM)