It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed since Sam Duckworth’s debut album via the Get Cape Wear Cape Fly moniker was released. Duckworth now goes by the name Recreations and recently released ‘Baby Boomers 2’.
Duckworth has always been a consistent and prolific song writer but, for our money ‘The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager’ and ‘The Mannequin’ are classics. So, can ‘Baby Boomers 2’ get in amongst them? Yes, yes it can. It combines the youthful euphoria of the debut with the intelligence and melancholy of ‘Mannequin’ to set him on another great adventure.
The album opens with ‘Zones 9 & 10’ and, quite frankly, could end here too because, in the words of Triple H:
“I’m that damn good”
The effortless flow of the acoustic guitar and sun drenched production meanders away like the Thames estuary from “Wapping to Barking to Thurrock towards the sea” that he mentions. The main highlight of this song, especially for a fellow lost soul in Essex, comes from the hope he offers. Duckworth is not content to grow up to be a commuter into London and rejects the financial district as it is today (an industry which employs a large proportion of the county).
Duckworth has painted the picture of an Essex where hope for change seems (and is) bleak but his genuine plea to look at your immediate surroundings in a different light to the status quo is remarkable. It offers achievable change for anyone wanting to make an imprint on the world.
‘Red Spex’ immediately follows this and paves the way to the pop music via electronic production which dominates most of the album. It’s a spritely track, littered with relevant social comment, aka, classic Duckworth. ‘Outdoor Type’ serves up a Block Party style Balearic synth alongside his trademark EMO-lite vocals to create an unique and incredibly engaging new style.
The house music styles continue to filter through on ‘Pipe Down’. The slow build of beats, acoustic riffs and bubblegum pop synths will conjure memories of Lemonjelly circa ‘Lost Horizons’. Behind the sonic bliss however, lurks a tragic tale. As our protagonist earnestly pleads “Don’t you know you could have it all / all you ever dreamed off / all you have to do is keep it down / keep it down down down”, the images of gut wrenching and life changing break up become inevitable.
The way in which Duckworth changes gears on ‘Baby Boomers 2’ is ultimately its biggest success. For fans of alternative pop music, this album is perfect. It moves from downbeat electronic folk to Calvin Harris pop cutting lyrics and thus, is always intriguing. The track ‘Forgiveness’ is brilliant prototype for a single. It’s emotive, great strings, and lyrically, it will speak to people of all ages reflecting on life. For a man of Duckworth’s talents, it would be easy to put out an album of these tracks and become a superstar. Less is more though, and when you reach this track you are left stunned and then you move on to the next, and crucially, different piece of art.
The only way to conclude this review is to quote the rousing moments of ‘Zones 9 & 10’:
“All these years of stress have taught me this / That hope begins at home / I just wish that glint in your eye was there all the time”