What does it sound like?:
Imagine Half Man Half Biscuit with a Midlands accent and a whiff of ska.
That is a really simple description of The Humdrum Express.
Very possibly unfair – there is more to the band than that – but I’ve got to start with a bit of a hook.
Ian Passey (for it is he) has been casting a wry eye over the world on a couple or 3 albums before. It was the last album (‘The Day My Career Died’) and more particularly the song “Leopard Print Onesie” which drew me in – and an enjoyable time it is too.
As before, every listen to this album has so far revealed another smart turn of phrase, a raised eyebrow, or a the very least a knowing smile.
The content is very much rooted in the ordinary (the humdrum I suppose?) and you’re immediately comfortable in this world of pop culture references and musings.
And on the subject of Pop Culture Musings, there is a track by that very name here – one where he may have written his own review of the album opening with the line:
“Before I wander off to check how many times the word sardonic has been used in reviews …”
or. possibly more cleverly, preventing the use of that word to describe this offering in all reviews (including those written my ham-fisted wannabe writers on their interweb blogs).
So if I can’t use sardonic (which is a good fit), I’ll have to say: witty, acerbic, observational, insightful, and just a little bit brilliant.
This album is a full band effort with a fatter sound than previous. Before it was effectively a voice and guitar, and the songs make the transition from “studio busker” (?) to full band with no loss of impact.
12 tracks covering important aspects of life including motivational wall art, online beer clubs, the wearing of a novelty tie, video cameras in coffins, those who go onto message boards just to stoke trouble and the Grammar Police.
“Coffin Cam” is basically a set-up for a bad/great joke – “remains to be seen”, “Chased By The Grammar Police” advocates the death penalty for a misplaced apostrophe, and “Fading Stars On Social Media” deals with the tribulations of being barraged by messages from a once popular artist, still doing the rounds and desperately craving attention.
A couple more more witticisms from the album:
“A misconstrued complexity. Craving authenticity. An elusive, bitter quality.
Not sure if that’s the drinkers or the ales”
“Online Beer Club”
“Its like finding a bogey in a library book, it really puts you off you’re reading”
“The Curse Of The Modern Musician”
“I like Bob Marley, but he was a bit of a big-head to call his album Legend”
“Pop Culture Musings”
What does it all *mean*?
Since the turn of the year, we have been constantly in a state of Storm Watch, with a new letter of the alphabet being used every week.
But amongst the cold and the damp, The Humdrum Express have provided plenty of relief.
Goes well with…
31st January (I’m a bit late with my writings)
Might suit people who like…
Looking at the world in a slightly skewed way