Denim - Novelty rock (NME)

AT ONE crucial point early last year, Lawrence Hayward, the man and indeed the myth behind Denim, told NME, "No-one does what I do." This stout statement he followed immediately with the somewhat worrying confession, "It's lonely out there."
He isn't lying. Lawrence has been licking away hopefully at the letter box of rock for a goodly number of years now, either as leader of the alarmingly proficient Felt throughout the '80s or, more recently, as all-round Denim diamond geezer. And the fact that the masses haven't actually bothered to open the front door and allow his fevered imagination access to their more orthodox nooks and crannies appears to be a source of great irritation to the poor chap. Perhaps this is why he has resorted to making an album like 'Novelty Rock'. Some frustrated artistes hide in cupboards: others resort to lurking behind masks of a distinctly comic variety. And so it is that a few times on 'Novelty Rock' we will find Lawrence making music (see 'The Great Grape Hangers', 'Snake Bite') that sounds uncannily like crap theme tunes from even more rubbish '70s TV shows, and in the case of his cover version of 'Robin's Nest' actually is a crap theme tune from an even more rubbish '70s TV show.

On other occasions we will stumble over young Lol doing the lambada of the new romantic lover, dragging the likes of 'Supermarket' and 'Internet Curtains' (cheers) down croaking electro roads so immaculately parodied, ooooh, 15 years ago by avant-garde satirists Not The Nine O'Clock News. The latter features the thoroughly whacked-out, not bitter at all in ANY way whatsoever couplet, "And now we've got ourselves a hit/Because Chris Evans played it!" Hur. Hur.

But such moments are few and far between. For while Lawrence may want to give the impression that he doesn't give an aardvark's arse about his public (or lack thereof), Denim is quite simply the sound of a man having to try too hard.

Exhibit One is the quirk-mungous curio that is 'Tampax Advert'. Exhibit Two is the massively silly 'On A Chicory Tip', which - oddly enough - is a diddly rewrite of Chicory Tip's 1972 'smash', 'Son Of My Father'. And Exhibit Three? The speeded-up romp that is 'The New Potatoes': "I lived in a field," yelps Lawrence, "and now I live in a tin." And so he should. After all, he has just made The Smurfs sound like The Blue Nile by comparison.

Still a daft punk, then.

Rating: 4