Thursday, 7 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500; #205 - Graham Coxon, "A+E"

This has been out a wee while and I quite like Graham Coxon, so I'm surprised it managed to slip under my radar until now.

"What'll it take to make you people dance?" suggests Graham was a bit frustrated in advance with lukewarm reactions to these tunes. "I wrote a new song/While I was touring/But it was no good/Totally boring" he moans on the opener "Advice". I like the tunes though. It has a flavour of The Who about it, fiery guitar and bubbling keyboards and disassociation and distemper. "Meet and Drink and Pollinate" has a similar sulky stomp about it and some New Order bass and the same bare lyrics. I like it. It has post-punk bite. It bleeds off into a hazy saxophone wheeze.

There's a paranoid rumble to "The Truth", which I also like. Sax pokes out again on "Seven Naked Valleys", which is as pastoral as the pop gets on this album. A touch of the Floyd that is never very far from the back of Graham's wandering mind. Some nice noise and womanly mumbling. (Somehow I imagine Graham being surrounded by inspiring women friends that would make breathy noises as and when required for recording purposes.)

Broody chords underpin "Knife in the Cast", which operates with a dark cloud inside, quite downbeat and contemplative where "Ooh, Yeh Yeh" is breezy and sassy and all too easy to imagine popping up on Jools Holland - even taking into account its distorted, kraut-ish coda. It's Coxonpop!

Is Graham Coxon the UK equivalent of Jack White? Or is he an updated Pete Townsend? "We don't like your accent or your Northampton shoes", he snarls on "Running for Your Life" before a typically-stirring power pop maelstrom kick in. There's a strangely anachronistic reference to "bags of glue".It has the feel of pop-rock-addressing-society about it. I find my affection for Graham hard to explain.

The tunes are generally slightly too long - run to four and a half minutes when they could be three. But I like the angles that Graham swoops down from. In these Jubilee times, he seems very English in a way more meaningful to me than Cliff Richard & cream or warm beer and conkers: William Blake, Geoffrey Chaucer - all that everything. The intensity is good: turning his unease into pop music.

Rating: Jack White out of Pete Townsend

No comments: