Press reviews


Tom Robinson BBC6
"...the strangely disturbed world of the Rude Mechanicals who sound a little bit like The Flying Lizards, a little bit like The Native Hipsters and a great deal like nothing you ever heard before... " 

Tony Gleed - Soho Radio and Bugbear
Artful jazzbo slinkiness and cabaret poetics with fabulous playing from all concerned and brilliantly off kilter but accessible vocalising from the remarkable front woman Miss Joe Roberts…. with elements from the likes of Rip Rig And Panic, Little Annie and Diamanda Gallas there’s loads here to enjoy. And isn’t that Jowe Head once of Swell Maps beneath that top hat plucking bubbling bass notes? 

Ellen Melin, London Festival Fringe. Live performance.
Last night I was invited to celebrate the Chinese New Year with the Rude Mechanicals. Though I am not familiar with chinese culture and traditions, I will stand firm in my belief it was the perfect way to do it.

Rude Mechanicals is a music act which invites you into a magical nights garden where there is a maze made of metal and iron. You will fall in love with what you find here, as you waltz through a mystical air with strange creatures.

Your soundtrack is a creative cabaret, avant-garde punk. Think of the TIger Lillies experimenting with the instruments of rock on top of an accordion. And experimentation is something Rude Mechanicals hold dear, as they not only explore sounds through a collaboration of different instruments, but also the sounds each instrument makes. Electronic sounds are mixed with guitar, an accordion, a bass, drums, synths and occasionally a trumpet.

The singer Miss Roberts uses her voice to expore what music can make us feel and visualize. Within the music you will hear her voice sing, scream and sometimes break into a spoken word feel.

As a musical act Rude Mechanicals adds to the experience you get from their music. Miss Roberts is dressed in an old beautiful red dress of silk, with her face painted white and black around her eyes while wearing bunny ears (after all, we were ringing in the year of the rabbit). And all band members are dressed in their own particular style, creating their own kind of magic.

Going to a Rude Mechanicals gig is mystical, poetic and really just lovely. It does not have to be in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Just go if you want to dance to a band with their own kind of music.

Den in Mudkiss Fanzine
The Rude Mechanicals are a new name to me, but it's a welcome introduction. I had heard there was a distinctly Zappa-esque flavour to their music & Sure enough, the Captain Beefheart/Frank Zappa influence is there for all to hear. However, after listening to this for a while, its native character shines through. Its really of a part with our art(school)/rock tradition - artists who operate on their terms: if people get it, fine, if not, that is ok too. Sure, super vocalist Miss Roberts can do "Troutmask" style phrasing & much more, while squawks, squonks, intricate bass & guitar interplay abound to Zappaesque effect. After a while its artrock roots shine through - more than a little early Roxy, elements of Robert Wyatt, Father Murphy, the Pop Group, Rip Rig & Panic, XTC, & Henry Cow, or even oddball forbears like Kevin Coyne or the Bonzo Dog Band.

There is a great musical flow to the album, which is quite an achievement given the amount of different music it engages with. There is also a distinct Miles Davis feel to it, partly in the bubbling, merging rhythms (think "Bitches Brew") or some lovely plaintive kinda blue trumpet lines. Lyrically, the album takes in all manner of strange tales ("Like Magnetism"), & bizarre musings (the title track).

Its one of those albums that seems to flow & bubble together into a whole, rather than individual tracks. There is a great feeling of experimentation & "no safety net" running thru the album, & its no surprise to hear they do a powerful & theatrical live show, featuring a lot of improvisation & spontaneous elements.

Organ on Resonance 104.4FM
And now we have had a little time to digest the London bands new album. They really are different and they really do make music that does not fit anywhere and cannot be compared with anyone. We could be lazy and talk of Zappa an English tea party with the tube mice who are really aliens and who wear false red eyelashes and strange girls playing violin and big white wigs and red dresses and a new album that is something to do with a cyclops and odd bits of funk and dance rituals that Miss Roberts demands you take part in, for it is she who leads this wonderfully strange band, and not a thing like Zappa but Frank was strange and so are they and.... I could say all that but it really would not give you any kind of clue. So we will just say they have a new album out this month and it really is everything we dared to hope it would be and just go find out, all you people with big yellow flowers on your shirts, we are yelling at you, for once will you pay attention and go see Rude Mechanicals, bands this good deserve your attention and support and love and dance rituals and...

Mark Barton - The Sunday Experience
Welcome to the bizarre world of the rude mechanicals a crooked band of n'er do well minstrels so out of step with the pop's pulse beat they sound as though they've been beamed in from some surreal cartoon world where mayhem, ghouls and strange goings on appear the norm. A chaotic and spastically spewed gem of such erratic schizoid persona and chaotic verve you'd do well to take heed of precautionary health concerns in ducking and darting to avoid its Catherine wheel like emitting sharp shards. Headed up by the mysterious Miss Roberts, rude mechanicals weave to their wayward tapestry an intoxicating and impishly incorrigible array of skittish grooves whose references stray with scythe like precision across a skewed wasteland of discarded mutant body parts whose origins are encountered in impish music hall penny dreadful recitals, Victoriana shanties, art rock and prog from which embraced to their scavenging merry prankster bosom echoes of Bonzo sit disturbingly demurred alongside Brecht.

Organ Magazine
RUDE MECHANICALS Is there anybody there? Terms and conditions apply.... Stitch me the perfect child, bodies found and left out in the cold, stolen brains of a rich man... Who knows what goes on in the mind of Miss Roberts, for it is her once more, Miss Roberts and her Rude Mechanical symbiotic slaves (or something like that, less body fluids this time, something far more sinister sounding). Rude Mechanicals really dont fit anywhere, musically or lyrically they really are rather different, dangerously different, lot of people claim lots of bands are different, Rude mechanicals really are.

Bizarre Magazine
One of the most exciting bands in outsider music. ...a delicious cacophony of trumpets, drums and guitars, led by a screeching singer who looks like Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous as styled by Elizabeth McGrath and sent out to steal childrens souls. Sublime.

Organ Magazine
Body Fluid / Etiquette (Ex Gratia) You see, the great thing that happens now and again with this Organ monster, is that people feed things through the door, things drop in from people you've never heard of and you know nothing about and... instant adoration. The Rude Mechanicals album dropped in to our lives sometime earlier this year, we had never heard of them, they demanded instant attention, they've been one of our favourite bands of the year, Glass Eye is the first album to grab when theres a free moment of pleasure around here the mysteries of alien tube mice and body fluids and they've probably been the most played band on our radio show in 2008.

This new single will tell you exactly why Miss Roberts and her band are to be adored (and if you don't you'll be squashed and pushed in to the cracks). And we are dancing about architecture yet again and they shoot tunes with such elegance (and a large gun). Keep your tongue under control, it is the polite thing to do, small headed dolls are just strange things and it is indeed a climb to the top of the seats where the big people sit and it would be rude to steal each others food. Strange insect jazz in high heels and big wigs and waltz and bow and English high tea and we have said before, Miss Roberts is clearly in control of her musical slaves.

Performance art and bright lipstick and their dirty words, but not us, that would be rude. Flying teapots and floating anarchy and frantic bits and fluid bits and bits that dash here and bits that rush there, jumping the cracks in the pavement and falling into the forest in between. Bar room noir and toe sucking delight and all kinds of mothers of invention and art-blues cabaret and you'd love it be part of her flat field, such beautiful sins, keep your tongue under control, it is polite... Available as a download only from the place where the big people sit over at or go explore

Organ Review - Live Show
RUDE MECHANICALS have to be seen, no they really do have to be seen they all look so intriguingly good, they demand your full attention, your fascination.

Lynda Beast is with them tonight, mostly with her violin, sometimes a trumpet kind of thing, long olive green dress, bow between her legs, how was she playing it just then?. Kitty Kat is over there with blue hair and red heels (that somehow later on end up on the dance floor and have to be handed back) behind her keyboard and her oboe, Guy Avern weaving in the middle of it all and mostly driving the bass. Dapper man called Cos would be centre of attention in most bands with his refined guitar, there's so many centres of attention here though – both visually and musically. Tommy G is at the back with his colourful jazz-stroked drums gluing it all together, theres some seriously good musicians up there and it all seems to flow so so easily, so effortlessly when it should be so uncomfortably awkward. How to explain it? How! In an ordered alphabetical way while alien mice take over the tube lines, or feeding Derek lots of pies and then there's the escalators that are to be considered nothing more than stair impersonators.

And there in the middle, looking radiant in her long red dress and big white hair and in finger-pointing control of everything is Miss Roberts. Telling us how to dance in such a charmingly refreshing (and wonderfully plummy) way, and we cannot help but respond to her elegant demands that really do manifest into your deepest reality while her band of symbiotic slaves decorate the walls of your insides with their questions concerning time and the invention of the calendar and a later a Rotten Tango. Order up some Champagne and drink the golden outrageousness of it all, the twitching behind curtains and the life in carrier bags and looking through letter boxes. Oh it makes such bizarrely good sense and all the thoughts on video taken from inside of your head and strange noir and the sweet sweet smell of back bar-room art rock and strange other-jazz - and the smiling encroachment of my dancing neighbours for the frantic finale of Disco Dancer where they take on funk in a deliciously eccentrically English way and teach us all the routine. We have been through all kinds of genuinely avant across-the-line jumping with art rock and performance cabaret jazz and new-wave no-wave bites of blues and Zappa and Beefheart and before the disco there was another routine, oh yes, 1-2-3 hoorah!!! Most seem to already know that was required, theirs is a cult following and a genuine word of mouth thing going on, Miss Roberts has clearly instructed them before, all seriously hard boiled art rock performance and all such fascinating fun and we were expecting good on the strength of the Glass Eye album, really wasn't expecting it this good though. Yes, such fun and watching you from the other side... oh yes, love the existential angst and it doesn't have to be that way for Miss Roberts will take control. Rude Mechanicals are wonderfully good They leave the stage to wild applause...


Glass Eye Reviews:

Village Voice
Everett True, Hugs and Kisses No: 76

Have you any idea how unusual it is for me to enjoy an unsolicited CD these days? And to want to hear it again? And then, as I type these words, another one appears, the Zappa/Beefheart theatrics of the free-moving RUDE MECHANICALS album Glass Eye (loads of drums played like percussionist is doing the washing up, and off-mic oboe, and the feeling that these folk surely have to be the same age as me because they love Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Here And Now, Lindsay Cooper, Make Up and Skill 7 Stamina 12 just like me, surely?)and you know how unusual THAT IS???


Sean O on Resonance 104.4FM - Sunday July 20th 2008
RUDE MECHANICALS Aliens (Rim) Another taste of the very (very) experimental, very (very) left Field London bands debut album. Ms Roberts and her slaves with some strange art-jazz-lounge contradictions and performance art and post punk and lessons in toe sucking and this one is about the mice of the underground being aliens (or something like that). The whole album is addictive amazing and really like nothing else you've heard..

Organ Magazine - Organ 206 June 5th 2008
Jaded things are brushed aside and all kinds of secrets and champagne and oil and toe nails painted red, not that you have a choice over the colour of your toenails, Miss Roberts is clearly in control of that decision and everything else here. So this album landed just in time for our radio show last Sunday, we like to think we are green around here, we have no problem with recycling used words, here is what we said when we put last Sundays playlist up on line, we had to play a couple of tracks straight away...

Now where do we start with this one, haven't really explored the album yet, only got it out of the wrapper this afternoon, all kinds of stage bendy pointy jazz and spiky hard boiled experimental noise and toe sucking and golden showers and post punk art rock performance and body fluid meditation and creatively absurd goodness and dark decadent moistness. Led by the mysterious Miss Roberts, her band of symbiotic slaves are different

....and that was one little part of Glass Eye, one tiny little part! Theres aliens and people living in lofts and filing the junk in alphabetical order, theirs and hypnotic jazz clarinets and tight rope and more champagne and funny language that I don't understand. And Miss Roberts has a beautiful red dress, she said her mother made it. Isn't Rim Sexton Mings label? This sounds like the kind of thing he would put out. Has someone taken video footage of the thoughts in my head? Auto erotic fixation? Bar room noir, strange art-blues cabaret, dirty dishes, chocolate wrappers, you take up smoking, I will take up crack, none of this will matter after that. Strange Theremins, strange sinister sins, beautiful sins, and I think to myself, what if, one day... well...

Rude Mechanicals are unique, Rude Mechanicals are strange, Rude mechanicals are good.


From ages ago... Cambridge Evening News. 2005

"...the maddest and arguably the most interesting group to come out of Cambridge in decades…  something like the Bonzos becoming a Captain Beefheart tribute band"


And what was - I think - our first review...

Morning Star Saturday 19 November 2005
Introducing... IN PROFILE: The Rude Mechanicals
by Lee McFadden

MICHAEL Jacksons self-appointed title as King of Pop smacks of pathetic artistic impotence.
Why not become Courageous Knights of Absurd Rock? Trouble is, The Rude Mechanicals have just beaten you to it.
The Cambridge five-piece are fronted by the humorous yet frightening starlet that is Miss Roberts.

Exuding a personality resembling a peculiar hybrid of Mae West and Bette Davis Baby Jane, her lyrics focus on a variety of subjects such as DIY flying, the imagined encroachment of the neighbours "they're taking video footage of the thoughts in my head" and toe sucking, of which she recently gave an onstage practical demonstration from the passive point of view to an adventurous punter, while the rest of the audience had to make do with thoughtfully prepared pink marshmallows.

The bands fearlessness compliment Roberts extrovert performances exceptionally.
Guy Avern, Cos Chapman, Pepsi Fothergill and the unfortunately monickered Ugly Boy play with a commitment and ability that results in favourable comparisons to their admitted influences Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart.

The Rude Mechanicals live set simultaneously leaves new converts petrified, quizzical, musically refreshed and convulsed at the bizarre outrageousness of it all.
Their new CD single Frying the Neighbours is a mere glimpse into their somewhat terrifying existence and is recommended as a precursor to the sonic, visual, emotion-jangling live crusade of these courageous knights.