- 02 Jun 23
Adventurous effort from English maverick
Seven albums into a critically acclaimed career, it’s still hard to pin down exactly who Baxter Dury is, as he veers from world-weary wide boy to Cockney cynic. No matter the persona, Dury retains a sense of humour so caustic it should come with a health warning, with his lyrics spat out over slinky synths and hip-hop rhythms.
This time around, he’s joined by singer-songwriters JGrrrey and Eska, as well as regular singer Madeline Hart, the female vocals providing a sweet counter-balance to Dury’s deadpan delivery. For Baxter’s own vocals, it’s hard to hear him on the likes of the bass-driven ‘Leon’ without thinking of his late father, punk legend Ian: musical differences notwithstanding, the similarities in their voices reverberate.
Lead single ‘Aylesbury Boy’ is all accents and attitude, class system versus class As, as Dury gets metaphysical over fractured hip-hop beats. ‘Crowded Rooms’ could be a Tricky out-take, while on the sultry groove of ‘Celebrate Me’, he’s a grown-up Artful Dodger.
On standout track ‘Shadow’, a breezy a capella female vocal vies for attention with a dark hip-hop polemic that wouldn’t be out of place on a Ghostpoet record, the disparate strands slotting together for two near-perfect minutes. It’s all a little short, with the entire 10 songs clocking in around the 27-minute mark, but it crams a lot into that time-frame. Impressive stuff.