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MALCOLM McLAREN ‘Duck Rock (Charisma MMLP 1)

WHENEVER JOHN Lydon got bored in London, he once told me, he used to raid one of Londons biggest record stores and buy up the most ridiculous records he could find — Peruvian, African, aboriginal and anything else that caught the eye. Just for the crack, he said.

Malcolm McLaren, his former partner in crime, buys plane tickets instead. Just to make money, hell tell you.

Armed with a trusty ghetto blaster (and the inevitable video team) he arrives in tiny Columbian villages or remote Zulu settlements, grabs whatever music is on the menu and retreats. Weeks later the said music is hideously mixed with a wonderful selection of New York street noise, rap and scratch and handed over to Trevor Horn to rescue.

The end result is the best album of the eighties so far.

Some exposure to the offshoots of the ‘Buffalo Gals and ‘Soweto hits — tracks like ‘Zulus On A Time Bomb and ‘DYa Like Scratching — has already given an indication of the way that Malcys been heading this last six months, but nothing can prepare you for the overall shock effect of ‘Duck Rock. Its a bombardment of crazy sound, crazy style, crazy rhythm, duck, duck, duck! Dance, dance, dance!

Theres everything here from the primal drum beats of the Lucumi priests (‘Legba and ‘Obatala), Zulu chants (“Punk It Up/Im A Sex Pistol Man Oh Yeah!”), Afro Caribbean rhythm dances (‘Merengue) right through to the inevitable Tennessee square dance of ‘Duck For The Oyster.

Self-declared as a “soundtrack to revive magical instincts” the whole shaboodle is held together by the bits and pieces that link the tracks. One minute youre in a jungle created in Malcolms mind and Trevor Horns studio, the next out on the steaming streets of the city, dancing the Latin tango or shaking to the High Life beat.

Duck Rock is hyper charged — a glorious mess and a musical tour de force at the same time. The ultimate rip-off maybe, but the best fun youll be presented with for ages. You know hes taking the piss — this time try laughing along with him. ☆☆☆☆☆