Business as usual for loveable Luddite

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The Buff Medways – 1914

Possibly reacting against his deification by the new garage rock elite, Billy Childish seems to have slowed down his work rate of late. Roughly a hundred albums into his career, 1914 is only his first of 2003, though the time away seems to have been spent cultivating his moustache rather than plotting any vast aesthetic shift. Twelve tracks of the same old crotchety, valve-driven rock’n’roll, then, often with the same old tunes (the everfaithful “Troubled Mind” crops up this time as “All My Feelings Denied”). The hit rate isn’t quite as high as last year’s essential Steady The Buffs. But still, Childish’s memorials to teenage girlfriends, and his tireless efforts to expose the modern world as an iniquitous sham (“Hedge strimmers are bogus!”), mark him out as one of Britain’s most energetic and cherishable nostalgists.