What does it sound like?:
The John Maynard Keynes Blues Explosion? I have to declare an interest here because I’ve known the boy Ford since he was a spotty oik playing third rhythm guitar in my pick-up band in the 90s. This album, his fifth-and-a-half, goes where none has ever gone before, with a fusion of blues rock, Americana and economic treatise. If Robert Johnson had met Adam Smith at that fateful crossroads, and Milton Friedman had showed up with his SG and Marshalls, it’d sound something like this.
It sounds great, actually, courtesy of producer James Brown, not that one, the other one. Like the coolest PPE professor at a provincial university, the one the girls with glasses go for, Ford patiently take us through the last 20 years of unfettered capitalism, pointing out the fallibility of monetary policy over crunching guitars, pinpointing the moment greed went bad over rock-solid riffs. It’s a series of three-minute lectures, but without the polemic you’d expect from most musicians with a political point to make. It’s disappointed dissection rather than diatribe. All very reasonable.
As Rockenomics concept albums go, it perhaps runs out of steam a little, with the big soppy ballad By Your Side barely trying to maintain the theme. Let the grey-suit penny-counters call the shape I’m in, it concludes, I don’t mind to walk with my pockets light when my heart’s filled to the brim, which slightly raises the question of what all the fuss is about in the other tracks. Still, it’s a good song though. As a solo artist Ford uses a lot of loops in his live shows, and sometimes you get the feeling that the need for a regular repeating riff restricts the songwriting, but superb playing and – after years of swearing off them – the odd guitar solo keep it from being a one man bland.
What does it all *mean*?
Songs don’t have to be about girls, cars or dancing. They can be about quantitative easing and compound interest. They’re less likely to get you laid though.
Goes well with…
3.00am in a sweaty basement club in Threadneedle Street with The Boss and The Governor.
Might suit people who like…
Sticking it to the man in a polite, well-researched, objective sort of way, with guitar, bass and drums, three chords, and a clear and cogent, socially-responsible fiscal policy