This is the third album that Bailey has written, the difference this time being that he has a permanent band. They are the not so modestly, but hopefully as I have listen to them accurately named ‘The Many Splendid Things.’
When interviewed Glyn Bailey about the album, he described himself as a ‘story teller.’ This plus the other reviewers having called him ‘unashamedly retro’ meant I went into this expecting one of two things. This first, which would be bad would be… to be smashed with tales of Glyn’s life as he in a whacky retro way, does something totally out there like wearing shoulder pads.
The second possibility was a quality, unique sound. I liked this idea better. Fingers crossed.
The Old Illawalla gets the record off to an impressive start. The opening is a strong, rock guitar style which mixed with some cheeky synthesiser and screeching creates a sound which sounds better than it should. The vocals are strong and keep up the good start.
On the story telling side, it’s decent, the general tune is quite a deep sound but crucially has sing a long (in my opinion) potential.
Lyrically the song is good, a strange tale of finding a trunk is turned into a nice tune with stirring lyrics such as ‘Satan came and we made a trade, my mortal soul for wealth and fame’ admittedly that makes it sound horribly depressing, but it works much better than my typing makes it sound. Also, side thought…is that line a dig at the music industry which he hates? It seems to suggest that maybe song writing as an art form is dying. Maybe, the next line ‘I published those songs in my own name’ would confirm it’s a possibility. Overall, a decent start, it fades with the last minute dedicated to mumbling the words ‘Old Illawalla’ but otherwise I like it.
Beautiful Corpse, is also a song that delivers. It betrays its title, which makes me shudder unpleasantly. Corpse: horrible word but thankfully, a good song. It is different to the opener; it feels more joyful and free. Certainly it’s less dark and less mysterious.
It is I would say very similar to Jarvis Cocker, the slow whispered parts, followed by guitar driven higher, quicker choruses are all very similar to Different Class by Pulp. This is a compliment; it would not be out of place on a Jarvis record. Also, a line like ‘and all that is here will be gone, you better live for today’ certainly sticks in your head and is the most meaningful lyric so far.
Fuktup comes next and falls flat. The voice goes higher, more drawn out and it doesn’t work. It’s a change from the dark openers, but it’s too big a change. For a band that claims to be different, the ‘I kept it clean…why am I fucked up?’ anger at society angle is massively unoriginal.
Indeed the attempt at a catchy, shouty ‘so why am I fucked up?’ as a hook in the chorus, is something heard thousands of times before from bands like The Pigeon Detectives or The Kaiser Chiefs. A sound hardly crying ‘LOOK AT ME I’M UNIQUE.’
God for the day is the fourth offering. It’s listening to this I realise Glyn has clearly got a cheap female backing vocalist in, as she appears again as she does in every other track so far… The premise is simple, what would you do if you were God for the day? Well first we would all make a list of the things we would do as God. And this is what the song is…a list.
The Bolan Tree, a ditty about ‘Elfin, The prince of pop’ is certainly original and quite catchy. Lyrically simple, but with happy piano and a nice tune it certainly makes you smile.
Louis, Written about Louis Theroux (BBC investigator of weird things), rocks hard and is a stand out track for me. It’s fun and amusing. 6 six tracks in, story telling wise, they have hit gold.
Of the last few songs, the only stand out is BBC Bunker, which goes back to the Jarvis style whispers and rocking guitars, an excellent track which works well.
Overall, a decent effort. In parts it wanders badly, lyrically not going anywhere. But at its best, it hits the nail. It manages to amuse, entertain and make you think. Some of the songs drag, but I would recommend a good luck at Louis and BBC Bunker.
Review by Sam Bennett.
More from Glyn at…. http://www.glynbailey.com