Luke Haines and Peter Buck’s continued collaboration blossoms.
Release Date: 28th October 2022
Label: Cherry Red Records
Format: CD / 2LP / streaming
In the beginning, in a galaxy maybe not so far away, there was the off-kilterness of Beat Poetry For Survivalists where any thoughts of one-off musical meanderings didn’t halt through lack of fuel or desire. It proved a starting point for the current bountiful crop of often bizarre yet intriguing musings from the Haines/Buck duo as they explore the key topic of why all the kids are super bummed out.
Seventeen tracks give the duo the space to stretch out from beyond the tried and trusted whatever that may entail. It may be the familiar sound of Buck working his way through all the reference points of his huge record collection combined with some eccentric Haines musings. All aided and abetted by what’s often referred to as the rhythm section of Scott McCaughey and Linda Pitman.
Maybe these Haines/Buck albums should carry the subtitle, ‘things you’d like to say and sing about but were too scared or embarrassed – Volume….’ The song titles alone surely encourage further exploration as you have to wonder how something titled Diary Of A Crap Artist, Subterranean Earth Stomp or Minimalist House Burns Down plays out. Sometimes, it’s just (or almost) what it says on the tin; Psychedelic Sitar Casual (notable absence of sitar) could easily be a Dave Brock/Hawkwind trip (brilliantly rhyming ‘barmy army’ with ‘swami’).
The impression is that most of the lyrics and ideas come from rambling conversations and free forming between friends who don’t mind opening up and not being afraid to say daft things to one another. An easy company and attitude to songwriting, with a pinch of surreal British humour.
So – The British Army On LSD – a variant on the Nazis on meth story, the dark use of drugs in the Third Reich – eases us into a hugely welcome episode of escapism. A subterranean earth angel stomp even, as per the song of the same title, accompanied by outlandish mantras, often on the verge of sneering and a healthy portion of quirky arrangements. Experimentalism and working out of the box is the order of the day for the hypnotic 45 Revolutions or lazy retro vibe Won’t Even Get Out Of Bed. While we should inevitably mention Buck’s old band, Psychedelic Sitar Casual could be a comfortable fit for the old Georgia boys, but the vibe is much less intense and open to a looseness that feels engaging and intimate.
The tone poetry of Land Yacht Regatta and Simon Armitage is recalled on Minimalist House Burns Down along with the employment of the wonderful and long-missed phrase, “not on your nelly” and there’s a similar experimental Space Rock feel, a lengthy one naturally, to the title track. The chilled out ambience continues a course through the second disc with ethnic flavours crossing swords with avant garde discordance and a rush of punk. A boldness in sharing all of their meanderings, throw it out and see what sticks.
What probably started out as a bit of fun has emerged from the garage and suddenly has some legs and stamina. Unpredictable and with elasticated boundaries; why not get bummed out with a loose and swirling collection.