Go-Kart Mozart
Are On The Hot Dog Streets West Midlands Records

Article written by Ged M - Jul 15, 2012

In real life Lawrence will never be the pop star he wants to be but just 50 minutes in his world will convince you not only of the importance of pop music but the genius of Lawrence. You'd describe the way it crushes and reforms so many ideas from the 60s, 70s and 80s as a brilliant post-modern commentary on the death of the music industry if you didn't recognise that he really believes his own mythology.

His songs have brilliant melodies and are rich with ideas magpie-hoarded from obsessive listening over the years, although it doesn't sound like it's been expensively recorded: WH Smiffy is credited with an "encyclopedia of synthetics" on the sleeve. What makes it so good is that his musical imagination and lyrical ideas mesh perfectly; that is, until you realise that what he's singing about isn't normally the stuff of disposable pop. 'Come On You Lot' is a brilliant football anthem but it also has Morrissey-levels of misanthropy comparing now with 1966 ("this country's lost its spine/ all we do is moan and whine"). 'Retro-Glancing' memorably mixes New Order basslines and Streets-like spoken word lyrics. He mocks Britons on package tours ('White Stilettos In The Sand') but does so in brilliant faux-operatic 80s synth-pop tones. And in singing about not wanting to be hurt by girls anymore ('I Talk With Robot Voice'), he's repeating a trope heard in pop music since the 50s, although none has ever had a melodic chorus asserting "I don't want any girl to hurt me anymore…I admit I'm still susceptible to vagina's allure".

There's a clear vein of nostalgic that he's mining, one song referencing RAK Records, 80s Villa star Gary Shaw and Shack's Michael Head. But he also reveals a side that's more like Ray Davies; the flouncy 'Blowing In a Secular Breeze' is an ironic Rule Britannia, a tale of post-Empire entropy that repeats mantra-like the explanations given for no-longer-Great Britain.

It's the cleverest, funniest and most satisfying record this year by a galaxy or two. Just when you were terrified that corporate pop and talent-show tie-ins were choking the life out of pop, Lawrence comes along and proves that real pop stars are the ones who define the era on their own terms. Along with the Lawrence of Belgravia film and the photo-art book, the wonderful and bonkers …Hot Dog Streets puts him in the living legend class.


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