The Supergrass drummer’s third solo opus is refreshing in its refusal to take anything too seriously, wearing its influences freely without ever becoming a pastiche
We have a test for you. How long can you get through Danny Goffey’s new album without smiling? Your reviewer managed a paltry 18 seconds before giving in. The reason was the comedic yet razor sharp single Everybody’s On Drugs, the lead track on the Supergrass drummer’s third solo opus.
This is a concept album, shorn of any of the excesses that term implies. On it, Goffey tells the story of his alter ego, Bryan Moone, who lives with wife Em and their erratic offspring. The album is a blow by blow account of a day in their life, including an “extreme violation” by their daughter at school, and ending with what is described as “a coffee-related tragedy”. The story is revealed in full with the vinyl edition of the release, the self-penned book accompanying the LP in a ‘disco bag’.
The drugs, of course, range greatly in strength and concentration – but as Goffey notes, in the voice of a ‘deranged newsreader’, we’re all on them, from paracetamol and caffeine upwards. His smile-inducing insights take place over an undercarriage borne of Krautrock, one of several complementary 1970s influences.
Once he has grabbed your attention, Goffey is determined not to let it go. All Dressed Up lets things go south, adding a liberal dose of funk as the vocals channel the spirit of Ian Dury. Bryan Moone is “in a state of high elation, with nowhere to go”, reflecting the mildly induced madness we experienced during lockdown, when going ‘out’ meant logging into a different Zoom call for a drink with more like-minded people.
These two songs are indicative of an album packed with great lyrical vignettes and singable choruses. I Lost My Girl To A Fairground Worker has another one of those, showing Goffey’s talent for a story while dressing the keyboard with various amusing topical reference points. “She followed him to his trailer, and left me waiting by the space invaders,” he laments, “and after a while I started to realise that they weren’t watching telly together.”
The cheery Looking After Number One appears to have been made just after getting up, “with my hair sticking up like a cockatoo”. It’s a return to Britpop, when The Supernaturals were lazy lovers and The Charlatans couldn’t get out of bed – but notes how that generation has moved on: “I’ve got to think of the children, got to think of the dog, I’ve got to think about my dear old mother who doesn’t get out so much anymore.” Delivered with a smile and a dressing of falsetto harmonies, it proves an oddly touching moment. Elsewhere, Flea Market Woman proves to be a charmer, The Left Side goes off to see The Sweet for two and a half minutes while the ska-infused Back Into The Water cheerily absorbs the influence of Squeeze and Madness.
All are part of an album that is refreshing in its refusal to take anything too seriously, wearing its influences freely without ever becoming a pastiche. Danny Goffey is on a mission to charm and entertain, to tell stories that make people smile almost instantaneously and enjoy their lives that bit more. Brian Moone, in spite of his chaotic life, achieves his aim.