Album Review: Professor And The Madman – Séance

  • Gary Hough posted
  • Reviews

Professor And The Madman

Séance - Fullertone Records

Professor And The Madman are vocalist/guitarist Alfie Agnew (Adolescents, D.I.), vocalist/guitarist Sean Elliott (D.I., Mind Over Four), bassist Paul Gray (The Damned, Eddie & the Hot Rods, U.F.O.) and drummer Rat Scabies (formerly of, and soon to be reunited with, The Damned). Their new album, “Séance” is a record that  given their iconic punk backgrounds you might be forgiven for thinking could well be just another punk rock album, and although it does indeed bring all of the elements of their trademark styles of west coast California and 80’s Damned , this box of delights is far from being just another punk rock album.

Séance’ is a themed concept album similar in some respects to those classic albums of the 60’s and 70’s like Pink Floyd’s “The Wall“, The Beach Boys “Pet Sounds” or The Beatles‘ “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band“. Co-produced by Elliott and Agnew, the album is about a group of friends who hold a séance in order to say one final farewell to friends who have passed. As you listen to each track in turn, you will most likely think you know the outcome already as the tracks build toward the finale, but the end of the story is very much open to interpretation and might well be just the beginning.

Although each song is linked, they nonetheless still provide the listener with their fill of punk rock energy with none of the rigid boundaries and constraints that often come with pigeonholing a band within a genre. The album kicks off with an intro entitled ‘All the Lonely Souls’ before it goes straight into the title track ‘Séance’, a bass driven stormer of a song where Paul and Rat’s rhythmic input really shines. Next, we have ’So Long’ a song that could have been lifted straight off of The Damned’s “Black Album” and for me is one of the standout tracks. ‘Real Me’ could be a Lennon and McCartney composition, a song that they’d have been proud to have written, ‘Child Eyes’ is up next and once again sees Paul Gray galvanise the song with his strong bass lines.

Séance is an album that sees Agnew take his time machine with passenger Elliot on a journey of reflection. For me it’s a phantasmal experience of theatrical twists and turns that leads me through the tracks ‘Time Machine’ and ‘Man With Nothing To Lose,’ two songs that look back at a time when life seemed so much simpler and easier to navigate, than the technology driven world that we find ourselves in today. ‘Two Tickets To The Afterlife’ would not be out of place in the theatrical world of an Alice Cooper set but nonetheless sees me putting on my spandex as I sing along “We’ve got thrills! We’ve got pills! We’ve got million dollar bills!”.

The Council of Purgatory’ a delightful little ditty is the final track on the review copy of the album that I’m listening to, however the released version has an additional three tracks, the much darker ‘All The Lonely Souls ‘(Reprise), ‘Greetings For The Other Side’ and the short ’New World’ that gives you the answer you have been seeking throughout this wonderful journey. “Séance” is one of the best albums that I’ve had the privilege of listening to this year a remarkable achievement given that the various components were all laid down in different locations before file transfers saw them reassembled over in the US. If there’s one album you buy this year, make it this.

You can purchase “Séance” on CD, download and yellow vinyl, with optional board game and accessory kit, here