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Ah, the concept album. A dangerous territory to tread, which so often ends in overblown melodrama. Luke Haines, however, is no ordinary songwriter, and this is a spooky, understated collection of psych-pop numbers with Haines's half-hissed, half-crooned vocals regaling us with tales of triumph and tragedy in dingy British towns, placing his favourite wrestlers of the time in hypothetical and psychedelic situations (there's a brilliant song here called 'Big Daddy Got A Casio VL Tone'). Oh, and the insert is a 1978 calendar featuring a dozen very charming paintings of the pivotal characters by Haines himself. To be honest, I'm not really familiar with the actual wrestlers, so a lot of the references here are without doubt going right over my head, but if you're a fan of Haines's bitter take on indie rock then you're bound to be as chuffed with it as I am. It's always a treat when he brings something new out - although the uninitiated might want to start out with the Auteurs' 'After Murder Park' and his terror-concept opus 'Baader Meinhof' as entry points for his intimidating back catalogue. Haines's sneering yet affectionate take on life is still provocative and endearing and this is another great record from a consistent and legendary British songwriter who should be better appreciated. Incidentally, if you've not already read them I can strongly recommend both this man's books too.
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