Pissed-off wordsmithery from Mark Wynn, labelmate and recent tourmate of Sleaford Mods. The Singles compiles the highlights from a range of hard-to-find self-released CDs, a selection of acoustic frustration with an excellent bleak humour. 500 LP copies with a 20-page booklet of visual materials, on Harbinger Sound.
8/10 Nathon Staff review, 28 January 2016
To get the obvious comparison out of the way: Mark Wynn's songs are witty, irreverent, heavily concerned by the mundane details of everyday life, politically aware, peppered with fruity expletives and determinedly lo-fi. They are delivered sprechgesang in a regional English dialect. This is a Harbinger Sound release of a collection of tracks culled from various sources down the years, rather than a 'proper' album per se. You know where I'm coming from, right?
And you would be right...up to a point. You'd also be right if, after hearing 'Real sausages Made by a Real Butcher', your mind leapt to the equally obvious comparison with The Fall. Something not helped by the song immediately after being called, um, 'Rip off The Fall'...
But Wynn is both far less angry than Mr Williamson and far less cryptic than Mr Smith, with a more conventional love of irrepressibly catchy tunes ('Houses on the Green Grass', 'Tabby Cats Instead') than both. And whilst clearly not afraid of the surreal, Wynn's lyrics are more thoroughly grounded in simple, self-deprecating humour. He understands why eating corned beef sandwiches with your grandparents in a New Earswick bungalow provided by the do-gooding Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust ('Your Nana is Not an Invalid') is a bit absurd. On "She Fancies Me That One In Age Concern" he ably skewers pretty much every small town in Britain simply by imagining the career trajectory of the girl he likes who works there ("I wonder what Clare did before Age Concern? Did she work in Save The Children? Or Sue Ryder? Or maybe the British Heart Foundation?").
So, the thing that makes this collection worth your attention (and hard-earned cash) isn't just that this kind of lo-fi, DIY punk is enjoying a hot moment. It isn't just that, a bit like Mac DeMarco, underneath all the fucking about there is obvious talent. It's the songs and the humour: a wry, sarcastic take on anti-folk, steeped in modern, class-bound, Northern English experience.
9/10 Archie Customer review, 28th January 2016
It's good to see people finally waking up to Mark Wynn. I've seen him live in York many times and whilst his stage persona is annoying sometimes (he likes winding people up) there's no doubt that he can write a decent tune and has a fantastic way with words.
It's quite hard to put into words why he's worth the effort as he's not exactly original, but he's just got something about him. Doesn't take life or music or himself too seriously but isn't just pissing about either.
Can't say I've heard everything on this album so giving it a 9/10 is a bit of a stretch but if you head over to his Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/markwynn) or search for him on YouTube you'll find plenty to go on.
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