Idiot Son? Don’t believe a self-effacing word of it (or even that of an inadvertently insensitive parent), for if this is the sort of music that can be made by a stupid person/Lummox then there’s hope for Busted yet.
No – Andy Thompson, drummer with those masters of macabre pop, Copenhagen, and driving force behind The ‘Son (as they will doubtless become known) is anything but an Idiot, as a cursory listen to this first, full-length album will tell you.
Not only does Thompson possess a sweet, deliciously melodic singing voice that belies the world-weary observations of his lyrics, but in guitarist Bob Broadley, cellist Jonathan Brigden, bassist Chris Taylor and drummer Mark Lloyd, he has surrounded himself with a group of musicians talented enough to be the envy of bands with a million more fans but a millionth of the grey matter.
And there’s not an electric guitar in earshot. Instead, Idiot Son deal in gentle but stirring acoustic movements with lush sounding percussion and all filled out with well-placed strings that sometimes add to the melancholy and other times try to fool you into thinking there isn’t any melancholy at all.
High points include the surprisingly grand intro to Camomile Street and the upbeat harmonies and parping brass section that counterpoint the downbeat lyrics (“I’m too tired for tearful, too low for cheerful”); the shimmering Emily, I Have A Plan that recalls Turin Brakes at their most soothing; and the self-explanatory The Daily Grind where the straw-clutching idealism of the lyrics (“I don’t think I’m one of them”) is matched by the strangely sunny sounding musical background.
Occasionally, the songs tread a fine line between lullaby and languor, with I Bought A Hat being most notable in not quite living up to its wonderfully everyday title.
However, as the dreamy strains of Summerhouse waft away, you’re left in no doubt that Idiot Son’s quintessentially English, shrug-of-the-shoulders take on life and boredom (“City Of London, humdrum”) deserves a wider audience than slots supporting Lambchop‘s Kurt Wagner have afforded them so far.
Lummox doesn’t contain brash statements, middle fingers in the air or rash bravado. However, it is the soundtrack to late nights spent putting the world to rights with a glass of single malt in your hand. And as anyone who’s a regular will know, there’s no better, more deliciously miserable place to be.