Brilliantly depressing follow-up from Morrissey fave

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Score 4

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Pony Club – Family Business

Home Truths, the 2002 debut from one-man-band Mark Cullen aka Pony Club, was a cheap bedroom recording acclaimed by everyone from Morrissey to The Streets for its seedy, swirling synth-songs of domestic grief and quiet desperation. The sophomore offering is even more relentlessly miserable?”and the strain in my life multiplies, and the hurt doubles up”?and we’re repeatedly told we’ re all doomed losers. Sadly the production’s a little thin for the grand ambition. Still, the dramatic opener “Dorset Street” and bleakly comic “Forecourt Flowers” hint at everything from Soft Cell to Pulp to Motown. “Buried In The Suburbs” chants postcodes in a parody of Roxy’s “Remake/Remodel”, and Cullen’s marriage-gone-stale confessions make Larkin seem like Noddy. Powerful sink-estate poetry.