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- Rock N Roll Animals by Luke Haines
Venom-spitting Auteur Luke Haines is either Britain’s finest storytelling songwriter of his generation or a pompous bastard depending on who you ask. Having read his books I think there is every chance he’s both, and I’m fine with that. Either way he’s back this week with a new 7” of animal-themed cuts starting with ‘Rock N Roll Animals’, a whimsical track which is about as close as he comes to a pop song. A trip to Walton on Thames to meet a cast of characters that reads like a rock’n’roll Wind In The Willows. It’s quite silly but very charming in a kind of Matt Berry-ish way.
Over on the other side ‘Natural Mystic Furry Freaks’ is a weird tribalistic number with the title chanted over and over alongside some puttering percussion, then weirder still is ‘John Barleycorn Must Die’, an adaptation of a traditional song complete with vocal harmonies, fingerpicked acoustic guitar, and touches of recorder and accordion. Proper folky business, which tempers the fact that it’s by far the most lyrically dark contribution. All interesting and very different songs but Haines’s material seems to be getting less and less poisonous lately. Could it be that that the perpetual curmudgeon is lightening up as he gets older and, dare I say it, happier?
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