Sometimes you can tell that you're going to like a record just by reading the song titles. This album is a prime example of that - here's the tracklisting:
- Lately I've Found Myself Regressing
- Kendo Nagasaki
- I'm Gonna Go To Bed and When I Wake Up I'm Gonna Be Someone Else
- Flavor Flav
- Paulie In Rocky Three
- A Funny Thing You Said
- We're Here For The Duration
- The Angriest Dog In The World
Who could fail to like an album with titles like that? I'm pleased to say that the songs themselves more than live up to their billing. The albums themes - growing old, being a failure, modern life is rubbish but then it probably always was - fit perfectly with Ben Parker's world-weary delivery and the understated musical accompaniment. The lyrics are packed full of wit and a whole range of cultural references, from music "And 'Persistence of Time' by Anthrax means more to me than something like 'Blood On The Tracks'", through film "the scene from Rocky 3 where Paulie smashes up the pinball machine", TV "I clearly remember...Saturday mornings with Jimmy Greaves", and radio "I'm probably never gonna be on Desert Island Discs, but that doesn't necessarily mean that all of this was a waste of time", to the internet "I had to Google myself just to prove that I exist" and pubs "Wetherspoons meals are cheaper when there's two".
Snatches of lyrics and vocals on here remind me of Art Brut, particularly parts of 'I'm Gonna Go To Bed...'. It's the kind of thing that you could imagine John Peel playing if he was still with us, and in fact BBC Radio 6 Music, John's spiritual home, have already played some tracks. It's hard to imagine there being anything that you could do to this record that would make it more perfect than it already is. Anyone who can equate a break-up with Public Enemy performing without Flavor Flav, or R.E.M being stuck with having to play 'Automatic For The People' for the rest of their career, as Parker does in the immaculate 2 minutes and 35 seconds of 'Flavor Flav', should probably be installed on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square and instantly declared a National Treasure. To paraphrase one of Parker's lyrics from that song, I don't think I'd want to fight the power without him by my side.
You can download a free track from the album below.