Mongrel - Better Than Heavy
Imagine, if you will, a beautiful spring morning. The birds are singing in the trees and the sun illuminates the delicate beauty of a drift of enchanting snowdrops. Then imagine a thuggish Socialist Worker Party member barging into your idyllic garden and screaming every single word of the latest issue of his newspaper whilst punching you hard in the face by way of punctuation. That, my friends, was how my morning progressed as I endured this album. This indie "supergroup", featuring ex Arctic Monkeys and current Reverend and the Makers members, has contrived to make an album which appears to be the Communist Party Manifesto performed by the World of Twist, although that analogy fails in that it does make it sound vaguely interesting.
It is relentlessly political, although after picking out references to George Bush, Alistair Campbell and even Jeffey Archer I was left waiting to hear their opinion on David Lloyd George, Lord Liverpool and Abraham Lincoln so outdated has this diatribe become already. The record has some redemption in the music which, at times veers towards the excellent Sabres of Paradise but, whilst it clearly imagines itself to be funkier than Clyde Stubblefield's drumsticks, most often conjurs up images of George Galloway doing the Ian Brown monkey dance.
Mongrel, the name of the collective, just about sums up what is on offer here, a mish mash of styles, influences and outcomes which may, I suppose, appeal to next year's freshers as they struggle to develop a social conscience which will allow them to look back fondly on their radical student days. Highlights are the moderately stylish Hit From The Morning Sun and the relatively interesting Alphabet which features verses delivered in words beginning with individual letters of the alphabet counting down from Z to A. I await the guest appearance on Sesame Street.