"Star Fighter Pilot is brilliant, simple as. He is an original voice and his art has that rare thing nowadays, original content. "
The Star Fighter Pilot – The Alkaline Maisonette E.P.
Manchester's finest obsessive.
Now and again you receive a record that - despite the odd annoyance or personal foible - is made by someone who is so patently talented and in touch with their muse that it is useless to argue against.
Put it another way, there are times where I heartily disagree with Star Fighter Pilot's output. It momentarily rubs me up the wrong way, finding it mawkish, overly gauche, overly, wilfully cranky, too reliant on soliloquy. And yet, Star Fighter Pilot is brilliant, simple as. He is an original voice and his art has that rare thing nowadays, original content. He has created a space in which he can create his music unfettered by anecdote or slavish pack-like adherence to what's current.
And eventually, despite yourself, you are won over by stuff like the moody, Kraftwerkian Dogbite (which tells of a nasty dog bite suffered by our hero and develops it's theme about the sorry state of society.) In some ways there is a link with Mike Skinner's The Streets, albeit without any of the glued on charm and pathos that make the latter's records so bloody irritating. No, Star Fighter Pilot is much more obsessed with stating his case regardless of personal popularity.
Sonically star Fighter Pilot uses keyboards and samples, creating grubby, lo-fi melodramas that scream out at you with both lungs. Your Get Up is a superb driving track not a million miles away from The Human League's A Second. Product is also hard as nails, its roots planted firmly in a no-nonsense Mancunian muck and brass and dance attitude that does away with anything as unnecessary as personal sentiment.
So far so good. What really swings it for me is the last track up. Ringo Starr Love Thing is an incredibly self-absorbed, dolorous argument over, of all things, the merits of which Beatle is best. Normally I would just curse and reach out, old buffer-like, for the skip button. But, fair play... it just sticks in your head; due to its very straight-laced persistence and lack of conscious self-aggrandising irony,
this track just about wins you over. And despite the fact you'd think that this sort of thing just lies down and begs for crap satire. Put it another way, if David Baddiel had written and performed this song on one of his dreadful Radio 4 comedy shows, I'd be inside on a murder charge.
Intriguing, bewildering and definitely something else.
Words: Richard Foster.