Cliches and social issues

(Saturday 04 June 2005)
Tearing Up The Album Chart (West Midlands Records)
Go-Kart Mozart

The second album of the group that frontman Lawrence proclaimed as "The world's first B-side band," has progressed favourably from the aborted attempts of its predecessor Instant Wigwam And Igloo Mixture.

Clocking in at a shade over half an hour, Tearing Up the Album Chart confronts topics such as drugs, sex, homelessness, teenage crime, geographical rivalry and obsessive record buyers, all within the seemingly restrictive genre of saccharin-style pop.

Elements of inspired genius pepper this album. Fuzzy Duck is a surreal example, where the lyrics largely consist of imaginary band names set to an electronic waltz.

City Centre paints a bleak picture of any British city's homeless situation, mixing powerful imagery with deliberate pop cliches, enabling the listener to laugh, cringe and think in equal measure.

Listening To Marmalade is a scathing attack on tunnel-visioned music obsessives and makes spurious allegations that will undoubtedly alienate the band from all record-fair stallholders.

On A Building Site could be a theme to a future trashy sitcom, while Delta Echo Echo Beta Alpha Neon Kettle is more than a passing nod to Lawrence's ex-Felt collaborator Maurice Deebank.

The album's flaws reside in tracks like Summer is Here and Electric Rock'n'Roll, where the attempted ironic touches become a little too heavy handed, but overall, Tearing Up The Album Chart is a concise, incisive, social comment of an album set to music usually associated with pre-teens.

Laurence's unorthodox mission is accomplished.

Lee McFadden