Album review: Adam Ant, Adam Ant is the Bluback Hussar... (Blueblack Hussar Records)


What most people know about Adam Ant's troubled 21st century is that he threw a car alternator through a pub window, waved a gun around and got sectioned. What fewer realise is he's been working on a comeback album. He's self-aware enough to acknowledge the situation in swamp-glam lead single "Cool Zombie" (interest declared: I'm in the video), with its references to "not playing with a full deck", and on Blueblack Hussar's title track, wherein he admits: "You know me, I go too far."

What this album isn't is an attempt to recapture Ant's glory days: there's no Burundi double-drumming and no spaghetti-western guitar. The Ant album it reminds me of the most, in fact, is Dirk Wears White Sox: there's the same mid-fi production, and the same mix of perversion. There are even Dirk-style tributes: to Ziggy-inspiring rock'n'roller Vince Taylor, and to McLaren ("Who's a Goofy Bunny?") and Westwood ("Vivienne's Tears").

The standouts, though, are neo-1950s ballad "Valentines", the exuberant "Bull****" (sic) and the metallic "Hard Men Tough Blokes".

It's sprawling, overdue and not for everyone, but at least it's not a play-it-safe comeback with the hot producer of the day. And for that, the Hussar should be saluted.