Clive Langer of The Clang Group has been producing other people’s work for the last 35 years including Elvis Costello, Madness, dungaree lovers Dexy’s Midnight Runners and The Amazing Snakeheads. He has now decided that he wants to be a pop star in his own right, a fine dream for any man of 60. This EP is a jolly good start. Indie pop on vinyl from Domino.
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The words ‘Clive’ and ‘Langer’ seem to crop up in every single book I pick up at the moment. He featured heavily in the biography of Madness (who is was perhaps most famous for producing), then there are several mentions of him in the Mozipedia and finally half way through the Robert Wyatt book he turns up as co-writer of ‘Shipbuilding’. And here he is with a new band with Roxy Music sax guy Andy McKay.
Though he fronted art-rock oddballs Deaf School in the 1970’s and later Clive Langer and the Boxes, it’s taken him til now to get back to making music for himself. Opener ‘Rhoda’ is possibly what you might expect if you’d heard Deaf School then quickly played his music with Madness and Morrissey back to back; its quirky art rock which if you’d told me had come out in 1977 I would have believed you with its shades of Nick Lowe and Rockpile but altogether quirkier.
‘Places and Things’ sounds like its about to fall apart at any moment and the record has a very rough edge for someone who has spent his life making reasonably slick pop records. Its a strange record altogether and rather rough hewn from a man has made countless brilliant records in the past. I like some of the stuff here particularly ‘Breaking Out’ which stomps along nicely and he ‘covers’ ‘Shipbuilding’ his best ever song and pretty much one of the best songs of the last 30 years if you ask me (which you haven’t). The record doesn’t smack of something brilliant taking place though its an enjoyable romp. Maybe they are just having themselves some fun.
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