A marvellous and passionate LP full of character and commitment, created by one Johny Lamb, who goes under the name 30 Pounds of Bone. And may I say right now that it’s great to hear such a straightforward LP that just gets on with informing and entertaining the listener. That might sound a wee bit patronising, it’s not meant to be at all: it’s a relief to listen to something that isn’t scared to be straight talking or to be as bare or as simple in its message.
The opener Crack Shandy in the Harbour is a ballad that doesn’t pull any punches at all: the singalong-ability of the song just reinforces the grim nature of the lyrics. There’s a fair bit of sarcastic humour on display mind, so things never get maudlin beyond repair and titles like How We Applaud the Unhappiness of The Songwriter aren’t there to be coy either… And a lot of alcohol about too – drinking and the consequences of the odd glass are found right through the LP – and noticeable in tracks like Crutches and Where I Used to Live.
And Mr Lamb can’t have rustle up a fitting sense of occasion, whether through a good melody (see the aforementioned How We Applaud The Unhappiness of The Songwriter, or Ghosts in the Glass), a very appropriate use of mood (the haunting All for Me Grogg), or sheer, turbulent, “sturm und drang” excitement: check out the tremendous The Fishery, which is a bombastic tour de force and possibly the LP’s highlight.
It’s tough, and straight and honest, and a joy to listen to.