The Norwich outfit released their debut album back in February but, with the election dust settling (sort of) there can be no better time visit ‘Modern Bollotics’. It’s an album, in their own words, to ‘make you smile with my cheese on toast and bubblegum pop’.
One of the striking things about ‘Modern Bollotics’ is it’s ever shifting roots. It shifts from the punk of Slaves to the boy’s day out of Twang to the thoughtfulness of Mike Skinner in a beat. Threading it all together is a sense of youthfulness that will inevitably fade away, but crucially, not yet!
Opener ‘(Jean Claude) Van Mann’ combines the volatile big riffage and punk aggression of Slaves with the lyrical delivery of The Twang’s Phil Etheridge and Martin Saunders. Unlike The Twang though, they are emerging during a period where getting paid is tough. As a result, a frustration and self-righteous angst arises (and rightly so) in the lyrics:
“And there's no money doing this anymore
If I was doing this for money I wouldn't be sleeping on floors”
The dry wit keeps coming on the sardonic ‘Popstar’. As frontman Jack Murphy decrees, ‘maybe if I was a little better looking I could be a pop star’, the initial instinct is to laugh. On further listening, the urge to question the dominance of identikit Disney turds comes soaring to the surface. When Oasis played Maine Road, Liam walked out in an Umbro and looked like one of us. Today, he’d be called a chav and vilified as underclass scum. A working class hero is still someone to be!
‘Fudge’ meanwhile, drives straight to the heart of not fitting in and being simultaneously proud and doubtful about it. Whilst written about those who fail at exams and work, it has a universal appeal which could tip them into the mainstream.
One criticism of ‘Modern Bollotics’ is, at times its quite one paced with its subject matter. However, flipping everything on its head is the poignant moment of self-reflection ‘What Happened?’ In particular, the lyrics in the bridge:
"I wish I could go back in time
Take myself away from the future
As a man nothing ever feels right
Every day I feel older than I used to
I wish I spent a little bit more time
Preparing myself for the future
It comes out of nowhere, right?
And drags you down lower than you’re used to"
‘What Happened?’ is the working class alternative to Frank Turner’s brilliant ‘Photosynthesis’. The tension that develops when life edges away and frailness sets in is portrayed perfectly here. Furthermore, to embed this into a sing-along anthem is remarkable songwriting.
Whilst only thirty two minutes long, ‘Modern Bollotics’ is an album of life affirming and challenging punk, rock n roll and hip-hop anthems. The disenfranchised haven’t had their day in the sun for a while and, with this offering, expect a glorious scum to rise once more.