Disc and Music Echo Magazine, 12-18-71


"Hold Your Fire" 

(Vertigo VO 6360032, £2)


Patto are a disturbing band. Not in any musical sense – there they are established by an excellent multi-instrumentalist called Olly Halsall. Nor vocally either – Mike Patto, the band’s namesake and formerly leader of the much respected Time Box has one of the most controlled yet powerful voices in the country.

The disturbance comes from the pair’s lyrics which tackle subjects straight from the gutter, and pull no punches. They’re essentially a working band, so maybe these words will have escaped their audiences to date. But this album brings it right into the open. Only three numbers are relevant to this observation, but they are the three most striking.

The title track, a fast punchy piece which deals so graphically with the tale of a pseudo-trendy who comes to Town, tries everything to be hip and finds no satisfaction at all; "You, You Point Your Finger" which in its slow meanful way, uproots the hypocrisy of the older generation’s criticisms of youth, and "How’s Your Father" which seems to paint the gruesome picture of someone either undergoing a drug cure or inside a mental home. They’re strong meat to stomach as entertainment, and I wonder whether they are intended to have such an immediate effect.

These aside, the rest are more obscure but no less gripping. Maybe musically Patto don’t have much different to offer – lyrically there’s more than enough to compensate.



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