Beans On Toast delivers his annual seasonal offering. A double dose, in fact, offering a rare celebration combined with the usual observations on the past twelve months. You know what’s coming…
Release date: 1st December 2020
Format: CD / DL / vinyl
One year on from The Inevitable Train Wreck (our review), you wonder if Beans knew something we didn’t. On 1st December, he issues his latest missive. For 2020 he only goes and does what Guns N Roses and Springsteen have done in the past and delivers two albums in one fell swoop. And like that Pink Floyd album, they’re a nice (albeit highly contrasting) pair.
Knee Deep In Nostalgia is produced by buddy Frank Turner who refuses to let any grass grow under his feet and it acts as a celebration of Beans’ 40th. Helped by a cast of several, including FT, it promises bells, whistles and sax solos. It’s an album of the now. An album written by a dad and one that’s optimistic and warm and musically/lyrically rich. That might seem a little unfamiliar to the usual output but there’s plenty to come.
Village discos – “someone’s got to be the first on the dancefloor” – favourite teachers and spending quality time with your kids all give a warm ReadyBrek glow. The days when we played out and went in when it was dark. Pause for a moment if you’re old enough to have a nostalgic moment.
Reminiscing may be all we have and the musings are coated in lovely relaxed C&W pedal steel and gentle acoustic guitar. The usual Beans On Toast reflections are wry and comedic and venture into the insightful. He ruminates on the lessons learned in life and the characters he’s encountered. The gorgeous The Album Of The Day is most un-Beans-like and the sentiment given a wonderfully subtle soundtrack.
The big brass promise is realised on Coincidence? which at one point makes me want to burst into The Swords Of A Thousand Men. It has that up-and-at-em mood, complete with party mood sax solo.
On the other hand, The Unforeseeable Future is a more typical BOT set, ‘inspired by the 2020 ‘shitshow’ (his words but we empathise with the sentiment). Recorded solo at home, five ‘lockdown’ songs that have appeared during the past seven months or so and five added since. It’s Beans On Toast at home with the simplest of backing and a sort of concept album with the common theme.
These strange days, the lack of close human contact, playing the waiting game. No longer taking things for granted and doing the things that were normal all play their lyrical part. Yes the barbed comments abound about the management of our situation and pleas about saving live music as the plight of musicians ever worsens. The darkness in the venue of the edge of town. Like our good selves as Glasto emerging talent judges, he’s missed the chance for the annual hook up by the Pyramid stage.
Trying To Keep The Lights On sees Beans turn to piano and it has a gospel-ish feel as he seeks to keep some light in his (and our) life. It could be his mental health cry for help. A final appeal for common sense, patience, good manners and generosity; a reminder that the fundamental things remain the same.
Two albums designed to suit your mood and to help guide you through the confusing messages, the hand sanitisers and one-way systems.
Listen to The Album Of The Day here: