From the jagged guitar stirrings loudly quoting Bowie’s Blue Jean with a hemmed sequin or two of Marc Bolan thrown into the mix, I, Ludicrous’ rambling beer swilling new album combines both the glam and the glum. Messrs Hung, Proctor and Brett epitomise the finer aspects of Dadrock,that often overlooked genre. Men now easily esconsed into middle age, they have managed to maintain the punkish attitude of their youth by accessing wisdom and experience’s bedfellows, humour and detachment. The grizzly assault of ‘We’re Signed’ and ‘Cheer Up’ energetically gives way to the sorry tale of ‘George Jenkins’, his cold baked beans and artful synth pop stylings. Vocally a little coarse at times these songs nevertheless invite familiarity as well as amuse you with their vigour. There is a touch here of the Ian Durys and his own Jack Shit George and one is frequently spirited away to the days of Kilburn and the High Roads via Kilburn, Hastings and all good points inbetween.
As the album proceeds one is reminded in a healthy way of early Stranglers, Damned and even the Red Aeroplanes. ‘Hacky’s Wine Bar’ has a whiff of the Sex Pistols flowing over its pistachios and arpeggios and ‘Things That Happen’s no nonsense approach to reclaiming the guitar, bass and drum template of good old rock with or without the roll is satisfying and dare I say it, reassuring.
The song on this album are the aural equivalent of a sneaky afternoon in the pub with these venerable gentleman, expressing a good few years spent observing and possibly judging the world around them. From ‘Oscar Pistorius who started well but whose end wasn’t glorious’, amusing couplets abound imbuing the songs with the conversational flair lacking in a lot of pop music. Albums and bands like this chart an alternative course for modern music making. They are extensions of personality rather than concept and idea and bring to mind the glory days of Half Man Half Biscuit and if you can remember them, Max Splodge and his musings on Simon Templar.
Humour is an essential element to survival and songs like these lift the day with their easy charms. The ironic lecturing lyric of ‘Old Professors Young Professionals’ has something for us all to learn about respecting the past and I suspect that some of the motivation for this album was to remind people that technology is not the salvation we all think it is and that a return to the limited form is often a greater means of expression.
We slice music these days, carving it like forgotten roasts on a tired Sunday table but I,Ludicrous with the flow and ease of this album feed us their thoughts in a tightly packed 40 minutes with an increasing attention to detail and a gentle exploration of the textures and capabilities of the power trio.
‘When this Depression’s Over’ shines with contemporary relevance with its neat quoting of The Doors’ ‘The End’and the closing ‘Clerking ‘til I die’ with its rememberance of dead colleagues and end cover of Stamp and Avery’s ‘Ascension Day’ complete this particularly drink fuelled but ultimately sobering session with aplomb.
Titles to Theatre Plays are crucial if we are to understand their action. Those to albums are often decorative but this album uses its contradictory title well. We are all Oxymorons if we do not stop to ask a question or two of the society that surrounds us. We believe we are all vibrantly and vitally alive but a great deal of our efforts are aimless. I,Ludicrous keep a watchful eye from their corner table, staring past the fruit machines, unused ashtrays and out into the fleeting night. They whisper a careful warning before draining their pint glass; Do not think too much of yourself: there might not be enough left for the rest of us.
David Erdos 3/11/15