'There's No Underground' is the follow-up to last year's delightfully titled 'Cambridge Nutflake', a record of well-ornamented and dreamy folk music you could only definitively listen to on vinyl. Ian Button is the man behind the record, known along with his roster of contributors as Papernut Cambridge. There are a lot of nuts in this thing. On this record, Button is no longer led by the imaginary, writing a love letter of sorts to his London homeland.
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- There's No Underground by Papernut Cambridge
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For his second album under his Papernut Cambridge moniker, former Thrashing Doves/Death In Vegas chap Ian Button is joined by a couple of Hefners and most of Mary Epworth's band for 12 songs which are stretched over the somewhat fiddly three-7" format. These songs would fit perfectly fine on an LP, I'm not really sure why they've done it, but it's kind of a cool little package nonetheless.
Thankfully the music on it is nice enough to justify all the fiddling about, a kind of laid back take on psych-pop with lots of '60s and '70s influences and shameless Supertramp-sized hooks, with the occasional diversion into Pink Floyd-influenced psychedelia and dreamy Canterbury atmospherics. Nothing that wouldn't sound out of place on the Old Grey Whistle Test.
An early highlight comes by way of 'Accident's Children', which takes Kinks/Auteurs-ish Anglo-pop and mixes in some Spoon/Squeeze piano boogie shuffle to uplifting effect. Its partner on side B 'The Day The Government Went On Strike' has quite a GBV-ish simplicity that's hard not to like too. The glam stompy miniature 'Si J'Etais Francais' on disc 3 is another high point with its cheeky piano plinking, honking brass and laser gun bleeps underpinning an almost Mano Negra-esque primitive bilingual garage rock stomp.
It's not all hits and the record does drag a little in the middle and some of the more obvious tracks like 'Nutflake Social' and closer 'Rock N Roll Sunday Afternoon City Lights' are a little bit Rod Stewart-turned-children's-entertainer, but for the most part this is really enjoyable stuff, excellent in patches.
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