the grubby mitts - what the world needs now is... (lost toys)
Recently I came to the deafening conclusion that I'm no one's target market anymore. There's no musician trying to articulate my suffering, no record label executive gearing an advertising campaign towards trying to part me with my cash and no one standing on stage willing me to clap along with them.
Truth be told, I'm pretty fucking bitter about it. Sometimes I go into an album review looking for a fight. I want it to be bad. That's not healthy, but sometimes I can't help it.
Band project of visual artist.
Now there's five words to strike terror into the heart of any sane human with working ears.
Eight years in the making.
There's five more.
Too easy by far.
An artist does not a songwriter make. This is true of musicians, too. Technical proficiency will never fully mask compositional ineptitude. If you can't write a song that makes someone feel less alone, you've got nothing. Even if you can do it, I've got a tenner that says it'll be manipulative and cloying.
The Grubby Mitts record has 18 tracks, is part art project and part album. There are no definable roles to be found in the band, and sometimes songs will change direction for absolutely no reason at all, never to return to their point of origin. I find myself checking the track title about five times in five minutes, only to find that it’s been the same song all along. If this sounds like a mess, it is. The construction of the record is such that I wrote a note saying "it's been eight years, for fuck's sake. Let's just put the damn thing out."
Of course, I then had one of my trademark changes of heart.
I had a preconceived notion of what this record would be like, based on the pre-release single 'Worm of Eternal Return.' That's what you could, if you were feeling old-fashioned, call a proper song. The lyrics are entirely abstract, but there's a lovely ramshackle melody there that recalls The Beta Band. The rest of the record isn't so forthcoming, and it's easy to get frustrated with it.
Let it come to you, ignore it even, and there are rewards to be found. There's so much hope in this album, which is a quality I find myself demanding more and more from my records, and it's sometimes very sad. Like all the best stories, there's no way of guessing its next move, which makes its arrival all the more welcome. Little pockets of longing can be found in a string arrangement accompanied by a marble rolling, or the way 'Unquiet Grave' evolves from there into a full-band gang vocal, then some kind of science fiction / country guitar solo. The odd mixture of spoken-word, twee, drum and bass, rock and pop remains jarring, but in the end even that develops its own charm.
Sometimes I go into an album review looking for a fight. Sometimes I get a bit of a kicking in return.