Hailing from Essex, Scott Lavene has released his sometimes weird, sometimes wonderful, sometimes neither debut album ‘Broke’ via Funnel Music.
An album of many clashing styles, can work if there is clarity in the challenging moments. ‘Broke’ is awash of multiple styles, when it lands, echoes of Dury, Costello and Barrett come to the surface. When the quality dips though, it falls face down.
‘Apples & Pears’ killer chorus is immersed in the sardonic world of Sultans of Ping and the colours of Syd Barrett. Meanwhile, ‘Super Clean’, comfortably the albums finest work, hits a Tame Impala via the cuteness of Supertramp groove that is undeniable. However, on ‘Moonbeams’, everything feels forced. Nothing about Lavene’s vision is contrived, it’s just not always sonically landing.
There is however, a purity to Lavene’s work, always emanating from a heartfelt and honest place. It’s what will keep you coming back for more. Album opener ‘My Stereo’, is arguably the sweetest pop record you’ll hear this year. The Beans on Toast meets Ian Dury vocals collide with ‘Hour of the Bewilderbeast’ Badly Drawn Boy to conjure images of teenagers discovering music in their bedrooms.
‘Broke’, described by Levine as ‘the deadbeat manifesto’, takes a wayward stroll through his hometown of Essex. It has a Baxter Dury sense of adventure without fully living up to his standards. The quality ‘Methylated Blue’ and ‘Some Place New’, whilst full of integrity, lose the wild glow and become more like a watercolour challenge.
This is not an album which will convince the masses, nor for that matter, will it convince the alternative world on first listen. It’s a gradual process of realisation that Lavene is, to coin Richey Edwards’ self-harm “4 Real”. When he nails his distinctive view on the world, it’s a joy to behold. This is tempered by moments of dips in quality but, never enough to deter you from rooting for Lavene.
Friday 2nd August marks our 8th birthday. Come down to the New Cross Inn for a night of great live music. Tickets available here: