Cool Hand Luke

More brilliantly bilious dispatches from This England

Trending Now

Send us your questions for Peter Murphy

The Bauhaus frontman will field your enquiries in a future issue of Uncut

Introducing the new issue of Uncut

GETTING YOUR COPY OF THIS MONTH'S UNCUT DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR DOOR IS EASY AND HASSLE FREE - CLICK...

The 3rd Uncut New Music Playlist Of 2021

Ryley Walker, Rose City Band, Hand Habits, Esther Rose, Richard Barbieri and more

Introducing the Deluxe Ultimate Music Guide to Bob Marley

In-depths reviews and archive encounters with the reggae legend

And so, thankfully, once again, here are Black Box Recorder to dispatch a cold bucket of sarcasm over the chronically lukewarm indie/pop scene. Passionoia, superficially, doesn’t seem quite so bleak and mordant as Luke Haines & co’s previous work. The spindly, sophisticated, John Barry-esque strings and electronica of “The Facts Of Life” have been eschewed in favour of a shiny, bouncy sound. Certainly there isn’t quite the sense of serial killers lurking in the rose garden?but don’t be deceived.

“School Song”, the opener, returns to the theme of “England Made Me”, with prim vocalist Sarah Nixey playing the role of the sort of bitterly authoritarian schoolmaster responsible for emotionally crippling the nation’s youth. (“You lot need a bit of toughening up… you’re weak and spoilt.”) There’s something almost kinky (a good BBR word) about Haines and John Moore employing Nixey as a mouthpiece for this nightmarish recollection of schoolboy misery but all involved seem to enjoy the perversity. There’s playfulness, also, in the numerous instances of pop pastiche. “GSOH QED” alludes to Tupperware Bacharach/David pop classic “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”. Only for Nixey, the price of passion is death threats and intimate pictures on the Internet from two-faced impotent spineless reptiles”. Then there’s “Andrew Ridgeley”, with its impudent steal from The Human League’s “Love Action”. “This is Sarah Nixey talking…”?ah, the triple-axled irony. “Andrew Ridgeley” is a defiant cri-de-coeur on the part of a generation weaned on the most shinily insipid aspects of the 80s. Still more intriguingly worrying is “The New Diana”, in which Nixey yearns to be just that, “lying on a yacht reading photo magazines”.

A fairy tale wish or a death wish? As ever, BBR’s absinthe-flavoured acid drops give you a great deal more to suck on than the rest of pop’s confectionery selection. Savour their sourness.

Advertisement

Latest Issue

The Who, New York Dolls, Fugazi, Peggy Seeger, Scritti Politti, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Serge Gainsbourg, Israel Nash and Valerie June
Advertisement

Features

Advertisement