Boomkat Product Review:
Timely reissue of The Birthday Party songwriter/guitarist Rowland S. Howard’s ‘Pop Crimes’ (2009), presented just after the 10th anniversary of his passing, aged 50
Notably starring guest input from HTRK’s Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang, then under Howard’s mentorship, ‘Pop Crimes’ is an aching swansong for the brand of doomy, boozy, literate post-punk and rock that he pioneered over years with The Birthday Party, Crime & The City Solution, and alongside Nick Cave.
The aforementioned hook-up with HTRK opens the album in a dedication to the band’s Jonnine, ‘(I Know) A Girl Called Jonny’, and makes up one of the album’s highlights with his grinding take on Mark Hollis’ Talk Talk classic, ‘Life’s What You Make It’, which, alongside his dust-kicking cover of Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Nothin’’, and the elegiac ‘Ave Maria’. only take on a new levity considering that they were recorded while Howard knew he was dying from a liver cancer. And in that sense, the swagger of closing number ‘The Golden Age Of Bloodshed’ sees him firmly saddled up to go out in style.