"...wry and often amusing observations on the state of the UK, harder, rockier and much more political"
"an epitaph to now"
"For his thirteenth album, reunited with the Parlour Flames rhythm section of Che Beresford and Ollie Collins, Alan Wilkes' musical alter-ego has turned up the amps and gone noisy for some hard rock with hairy posturing guitar solos, pummelling drums and influences variously drawn from Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Talking Heads and Gang of Four. That aside, it's business as usual with a collection of songs furnished with incisive, barbed political and personal commentary and observations veined with his trademark vintage pop culture references and idiosyncratic wry humour. After all, whose else would have an album that mentions both Diane Abbott and Donny and Marie Osmond!"
Whisperin n Hollerin
"...a songwriter highly attuned to an almost seamless blend of reflection and humour."
Say It With Garage Flowers
"I'm sure Vinny appreciates those words that rate him as an undervalued national treasure, but I'm also sure he would be just as satisfied if a shedload more people would listen to some of these marvellously observed songs."
"You might not get most of the album’s references, but you’ll not fail to feel the universality of the emotions."
Penny Black Music
"Musically and lyrically diverse, ‘Return of the Native’ finds Vinny Peculiar moving on again after ‘Silver Meadows’, which told of the lives and loves of the patients and staff in a mental hospital. One of our finest singer-songwriters, he takes the often ordinary and makes it extraordinary."
'Vinny Peculiar continues to deliver varied, compelling, observational and poignant pop at its absolute best' Will Munn, Slap Magazine
"Another jewel from Vinny Peculiar’s treasure chest of wordsmithery"
Penny Black Music
‘Silver Meadows’ is an astonishingly powerful record, one of both musical and lyrical contrasts, and which captures with both humour and poignancy both the monotony and horror of being in a mental institution. It is an enthralling album and a remarkable achievement.
The Irish Times
"...if there’s a more underrated (read cult) quality UK songwriter out there then we have yet to hear them."
Perceptive and insightful visit to the “Institution” 9/10
The Irish Times
His passport name is Alan Wilkes, but for many years Vinny Peculiar – songwriter, sometime poet and all-round racy raconteur – has stalked the haunts of the great and good in search of the missing link between Jarvis Cocker and poet Roger McGough. You could say that Peculiar is as peculiar does, and what we have here is a collection of some of the Manchester man’s finest songs. Blending the lo-fi/DIY approach of punk rock with quality songwriting and some of the wittiest lyrics this side of Wreckless Eric, Peculiar might be viewed (incorrectly) in some quarters as a long-haired relic of a different era. But if you’re looking for the kind of observational songwriting skills you thought disappeared with the demise of Pulp (or, indeed, The Auteurs), then The Root Mull Affect is a brilliant point of entry.
Roots and Branches
'Most will interpret 'Peculiar' as odd, but it also means 'special' or 'distinctive' and, as a noun, "exempt from the jurisdiction of the ordinary in whose territory it lies." Sound about right to me.'
‘When you listen to a Vinny Peculiar album you cannot help but think that you have come across his diary and as you sit and read it you feel both uncomfortable and wonderful all at once. His music is littered with the complex and yet everyday emotions that the masses go through and it is reassuring to know that we are not alone in our ponderings and self-analytical behaviour.’
True Love Magazine
‘Vinny’s songs, a beautiful blend of Americana, indie-pop and busker-punk, create an almost George Formby-like world of oddity and human frailty, and the self-deprecating veracity of his lyrics never fails to hit the intended spot’
MEN Live Reviews
‘Vinny Peculiar is all about the words. Looking (and singing a bit) like Elvis Costello in wig and baseball cap, it’s hard to work out what’s more entertaining – the story-cum-songs or the preceding self-deprecating monologues. Clutching his guitar, he gyrates and jack-knifes round the stage like a busker desperate for 20p to get into the tube station toilets. Endearing and irreverent’
‘Honest, witty, incomparably savvy about pop culture, Vinny’s songs make you smile and for the duration of three minutes plus, they manage to make the world a better place.’
‘A treasure trove of timeless pop brilliance’
'Sounding like Vic Chessnut tooled up for an armed robbery’
Whisperin n Hollerin
‘Imagine a surreal episode of My Two Dads where said fathers are Jarvis Cocker and David Bowie, who bully their child into liking them and everything they like, like glam stomp, kitchen sink vignettes, mordantly witty lyrics, nostalgia, dreams and a sneer, and you‘re ready for Vinny Peculiar, Manchester’s premier forward thinking backward looking song smith’
'If Tony Hancock had made pop records they would have sounded like this'
Belying its inferior connotations – and with new LP Revolt Into Style imminent - this selection of outtakes and alternate versions is uniformly excellent. Peculiar (aka Manchester-based Brummie Alan Wilkes) is clearly a waggish Northern humorist in the same vein as Morrissey, but delivers his tragi-comic asides with the menace of Luke Haines and the doomed allure of Ian McCulloch. Already some years old, "Showcase Time" and "Slow Television" are prescient, damning indictments of Generation X-Factor, whilst "Uno Disco" is a smart exercise in cabaret-glam. Touchingly too, the institution-railing "Big Grey Hospital" recounts the fate of his late schizophrenic brother to disquieting effect.'
Live Review: The Barfly, Liverpool - Andrew Killip, Drowned In Sound
'Vinny Peculiar, what can I say? Funny, great voice, nice hat, very entertaining and mad as a shithouse rat! Stories, stories, stories - the attempted murder of his music teacher whilst he was taking swimming club, being thrown off the cricket team in school due to 'Glam Metal' and losing his girlfriend to Jesus Christ are just a few topics to be explored in 30 minutes or so of Vinny's vitriolic rants!! Refreshingly brilliant, undeniable genius, I love him so much I'm ordering his entire back catalogue from his web site and feel you too should do the same, it can only enhance your life.'
Edinburgh Festival: Live Review - The Underbelly
'With his flat cap, florid blouse and fidgety nervous energy pitched somewhere between Andy Warhol and Jarvis Cocker, there's an anarchic elegance to Vinny Peculiar which is both at once both thrilling and faintly unsettling. The Manchester troubadour is a veteran from the city's anti-folk circuit, but it is his recent recruitment of the rhythm section from the Smiths which has reawakened interest in his glam-tinged kitchen sink vignettes. Storming through a set of oblique, tortured punk poetry, he wins over an initially skeptical crowd with his animated delivery and taut, frenetic pop hooks. Channeling all that eccentricity and barbed wit into something strangely compelling Vinny Peculiar is the sort of unlikely, heroic pop star they just don't seem to make anymore. -- 4/5'
City Life Magazine
Listening to Vinny Peculiar makes you realise that 99 out of 100 singers, including some of your favourite ones, don't inhabit the real, recognisable world, Vinny, however, is thoroughly in tune with the modem world. He considers the ethical problems posed by IVF in 'Confessions of a Sperm Donor', and 'Replica Shirt' makes a case for football as the definitive statement of the human condition. Instead of angst, the dominant emotion here is poignancy. Instead of power chords, the music is gentle and tuneful. Honest, witty, incomparably savvy about pop culture, Vinny's songs make you smile and for the duration of three minutes plus, they manage to make the world a better place.'
Joe Shooman: Live Review - Queen's Hall Widnes
'Poet, lyricist, musician, wry commentator and purveyor of all things, well, peculiar, this is a performer with intelligence and with latest album Ironing The Soul gathering great reviews since its release on cool indie Uglyman Records, Vinny (AKA Alan Wilkes) is being increasingly feted by the music press as a troubadour with a hotline to truth and tangential thinking. With songs of the caliber of Jesus Stole My Girlfriend and Suicide Dad, its clear comparisons with the likes of Babybird, Elvis Costello and Pulp are justified. Quality through razor and repose, devilry and delight.'
Rolling Stone Magazine
'With all the "Morrissey this, Morrissey that" going on, we'd like to point out that the Mozzer's arch-enemies Andy Rourke (the Bass Guitar) and Mike Joyce (the Drums) have hitched their wagon to hyper-talented songsmith Vinny Peculiar. The new Growing Up With Vinny Peculiar is heartily recommended for fans of homespun British tunesmithery in the Robyn Hitchcock/Martin Newell vein -- wry nostalgia, witty wordplay, copious guitar jangle. We're reminded of the early Baby Bird collections, and that's a compliment.'