Goody Goody Gum Drops
Good For You
Oh How We Laughed
There Is No God
March Of The Business Acumen
Now The Magic Has Gone
Trees & Birds & Flowers & Sky
Running Time: 40 mins
The Cravats - Hoorahland (Overground Records)
Cravatian - adj. the godless state of mind attained when listening to dada-ist punk rock.
Born in Redditch, but matured in Brighton. You wait 37 years for the sophomore album and then 2 land in quick succession. Following on from 2017’s Dustbin of Sound, excellent though it was, it seems that the band were just warming up to deliver 12 slabs of sax infused (f)punk, which is already a serious contender for album of the year alongside Joe Gideon’s Armagideon and we’re only in February!
Whilst there has been a veritable explosion of young bands angry about the post-Brexit landscape their grandparents have left them, it still falls to the elder statesmen to deliver anything of artistic depth. That The Cravats and Membranes are producing such captivating music 40 years after conception, is a two fingered salute to the “Ok Boomer” generation.
With The Shend at the lyrical helm we are treated to both seemingly autobiographical (Goody Goody Gum Drops) and allegorical prose (Morris Marina), driven by a band so tight that he probably has to buy his own drinks!
In Goody Goody Gum Drops he seems to be challenging us to find flaws in his character, whilst expounding on exactly how virtuous he is, delivering the killer lines “no disgraced presenter of TOTP, I’m goody goody gum drops, not the hoaxer drawing circles in a farmer’s crops.” He even namechecks Salvador Dali, a namecheck to his own Dada-ist roots in the opening verse. Of course he could just be hiding in plain sight.
There’s echoes of Andy McKay (Roxy Music), in Svor Naan’s sax refrains in Shy, a counterpoint to Goody Goody Gum Drops, in “I’d rather die than look you in the eye.
This is an album of rich contrast with both dark and slapstick humour, with Shend telling you “There Is No God” and “Hoorahland” respectively.
There is so much to like about this album, that cheap comparisons to Beefheart, Pete Ubu and even The Pop Group to a lesser extent, are just that.
Morris Marina is the allegorical tale of a fading relationship depicted with automotive references, of no longer being young and virile enough to deliver pleasure. “Now I can’t park in your loading bay, you don’t want a hatchback, want a sports coupe” and “You want to drive all night, I just want to sleep, I came up too fast on the inside, beep beep!” Pure filth in a saucy seaside postcard sort of way.
Jam Rabbit is Carroll’s Jabberwocky set to music. It’s Lear’s Nonsense poems. It’s the epitome of the cut up works made popular by Gysin and Burroughs in the Beat years. Savage and evocative imagery conjured up by lines such as “I baked a courtesy car in ermine” or “Who bought a forest but shaved in the garage?” Nope, me neither! In essence it is actually less than the sum of its parts. I even detect a hint of Sex Pistols - Liar in the mix!
Had enough yet? Of course you have but I’m going to carry on anyway.
The stand out track on this vaudeville rollercoaster of bad cheese dreams has to be “Now The Magic Is Gone”, with its Ren and Stimpy-like call and response duet between Shend and Jello Biafra as two old theatre queens describe how much they hate each other and how they’d rather endure unthinkable pain than remain in close proximity to each other. Perhaps this is their Brexit break up song with its Insane Clown Posse meets Nigel Farage diatribe?
This album is visceral and uncompromising and destined to feature heavily in writers Top 10s at the end of the year.
For Fans of: Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu, The Membranes