Press Reviews



Located in South East England you’ll find the Medway-based group Groovy Uncle, and they’re back again with the release of their sixth album “A Clip Round the Ear.” The album serves as a nostalgic trip to the 60s for those who remember the era as well as serving as a gateway drug for a new generation to discover that sound for themselves. However, Groovy Uncle isn’t just here to re-create songs from the past for the sake of going down memory lane, but rather using the classic sounds and old-school style songwriting as a springboard into new uncharted territories topped off with a shiny polish for contemporary audiences.

Groovy Uncle is the moniker of singer-songwriter, arranger and guitarist Glenn Prangnell who has surrounded himself with a revolver door of talents through previous albums for a surprise with each release. For “A Clip Round the Ear,” Nick Rice (bass), Mole Lambert (drums) and a full cast of other talented musicians fill out the record with the most notable collaboration being that of vocalist Suzi Chunk, whose flavorful delivery on many of the tracks becomes the main attraction against the backdrop of soulful, energetic and sometimes raw songs found on the record.

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They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To…

Medway’s Glenn Prangnell is a bloody genius. I’ve absolutely no idea how many years this guy has spent on this planet but he’s spent that time soaking up the sounds of the 60’s and 70’s, not just from the beat-boom era this writer had initially slotted him into but from other genres as well from Northern Soul to film soundtracks and everything in-between.

‘A Clip Round the Ear’ (even the title will have those of a certain age grinning) is Groovy Uncle’s sixth album and is housed in yet another brilliant sleeve perfectly depicting the sounds within. I just hope that ‘The Beano’-inspired image that adorns the pre-release CD we have here is going to be part of the vinyl album sleeve too, if ever an album should be bought because of the sleeve art…

So Prangnell can reproduce perfectly the sounds of the golden era and make them sound fresh and contemporary, he knows how to dress his albums in eye-catching art and that makes him a genius? Consider this; I’m constantly told that Ray Davies of The Kinks is a genius. Agreed he wrote one of the greatest singles of all time in ‘Waterloo Sunset’ and he showed a talent for setting perfect little snapshots of suburban life to memorable melodies. It’s about time that Glenn Prangnell was given the same accolades because over the course of half a dozen albums he has proven time and time again that there are very few (if any) that even come close to his own astute observations on everyday life and the average Joe. And Prangnell can write melodies that lodge themselves into your head and simply refuse to leave; not just one or two scattered throughout a dozen songs but a whole album’s worth.

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Groovy Uncle’s new record is full of marketing opportunities for the right copywriter: ‘Would you like A Clip Round the Ear?’ being chief among them.

It’s a phrase that immediately recalls a bygone era of casual violence exacted in retaliation for minor juvenile misdemeanours (ah, those were the days!), which fits perfectly with the nostalgic sound and feel of Glenn Prangnell, Suzi Chunk et al’s latest outing.

Groovy Uncle has long been an outlet for Prangnell’s love affair with sounds of the sixties. But here, there is almost as much in the lyrics as there is in the music to draw you back to the past. It should come as no surprise; the album was born out – partially at least – from conversations Prangnell had with his parents about their memories of growing up.

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Band: Suzi Chunk and Groovy Uncle
Title: Barefoot in the Car Park/Wet Weekend
Reviewed By: Malcolm Carter
Date Published: 11/08/2014
Label: State Records
Format: 7″

We’ve mentioned before how Suzi Chunk’s vocals are the perfect vehicle for the 60’s garage/beat inspired songs that Groovy Uncle main man Glenn Prangnell writes, and this latest 7” vinyl offering (limited to just 500 copies on 70g vinyl) is further proof if any were needed.

While the Unc ‘n’ Chunk crowd are far from the only band peddling this type of music, there is still little doubt that they do it far, far better than any of their contemporaries. It’s not only the actual music that sounds like it’s just stepped out of a mid-sixties movie, but somehow Prangnell, Chunk and company convey that whole carefree period from the sixties when someone suddenly flicked the light switch on. That they can do this, that they can recall these feelings through a 7” piece of plastic is remarkable. There’s little doubt also that every musician involved in these two songs is giving it all they have, but there’s still this feeling that these guys are not taking themselves too seriously. The sound they produce is authentic and from the heart, but this impression that all concerned have big smiles on their faces as they are recording is overriding. It’s like they know they’ve got it right, they know they are the best at what they do and they are loving and enjoying every single second, but they’re still a little amazed that they’re cracked it. This is the sound of a happy band of musicians who just want to spread this uplifting music they create with those around them and long may they do so.

This single is a taster for the forthcoming Suzi Chunk/Uncle Groovy full-length album ‘Persuaded,’ which is due (and eagerly awaited) next month. ‘Barefoot in the Park’ features Suzi on lead vocals, and where in the past you could have chosen any of the big-voiced female singers as a reference point (Dusty and Sharon Tandy used to spring readily to mind) on this song you know instantly that this is Suzi Chunk. Maybe it’s that we are now familiar with Suzi’s vocals, but suddenly all comparisons seem pointless; Suzi’s powerful vocals are immediately recognizable. She’s a powerhouse of a singer and while Prangnell and his merry bunch of musicians provide solid backing (including some fine guitar from Bruce Brand) it’s Suzi’s vocals that capture you. The song is another typical Prangnell dancefloor filler taking in his usual beat influences, but this time introducing flourishes of Northern Soul and garage into the proceedings. The song also evokes (probably from that remarkable guitar sound) the soundtrack to an old surf/beach movie. Prangnell has captured all that was good about the sixties in 3 ½ minutes. It’s all in that one song, and if only it was granted the radio play the song so rightly deserves it would have been the soundtrack to your summer.

The B-side is ‘Wet Weekend’ where Prangnell takes over lead vocals. Prangnell walks those lonely rain washed streets as summer fades. The melancholic ballad could almost be a long-lost Lennon song, and the melodica solo alone conjures up feelings of regret and loneliness while the brooding guitar work from Ben Jones also adds to the feeling of loss.

This single shows both sides of what the Suzi Chunk / Uncle Groovy partnership is not only capable of but what they are all about. It’s what the 7” single was made for, and we should be thankful that Prangnell and his gang are keeping this type of music alive and releasing it in the medium it was made for. Single of the year? Without any doubt