“Ill” By The Indelicates.
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Righteous anger, fierce intelligence, vicious wit and lyrics so sharp they could slice the ears clean off of your head; it can mean only one thing- The Indelicates are back!!
After being tied up in red tape and doublespeak with their former record label for sizeable part of 2009, a frustrated Simon and Julia Indelicate instigated a course of action which would give cause for your average careerist musician to experience a loosening of the bowels, they demanded that they be dropped by their label! It seemed to be their only option after experiencing first-hand, the industries inability to embrace the digital age or even accept the blindingly obvious fact that the musical landscape had changed forever- the old model was dead and that continually pushing a door marked “pull” will achieve absolutely nothing!! Now free from the shackles of being a “signed” entity, Simon and Julia are poised to finally deliver a new album via their own label, Corporate Records, –“a record company designed for the music market that exists now, not the market that existed in the 80s”. “Songs For Swinging Lovers” is The Indelicates follow up to their critically acclaimed début “American Demo” and once again they prove that in terms of literate, angry, spirited, pop music they really do have no equal.
“Songs For Swinging Lovers” is a musical and poetic tour de force that tackles subjects with the sort of brutal honesty that would give most traditional record labels coronaries. Make no mistake this is a magnificent album that enthrals, shocks and delights in equal measure, full of dark poetic lyricism whilst demonstrating an unerring ability to cut through the bullshit and dismantle accepted societal truisms. “Europe” is the albums opening track and a song which Simon says they wanted to sound “as unpleasant and disgusting as possible- We had wanted to write about Europe for ages. Partly because we wanted to write a song about a major continental landmass on every album – but mainly because we don’t especially like it. If it seems a little bit hasty to dislike a continent in so sweeping a way then yes, it is. And we barely mean it. But there is something to be disliked. The way that class infects it at every level. The horrible tastelessness of high-european fashion with its well cut skirt suits and utilitarianally worthless polished stones. The way that we cling to cosy pacifism while relying on American treaty obligations to handle our security. The way we look down on America generally, while spivvily lining our pockets.*”
The Indelicates have certainly never been a band to pull their punches, take “Flesh”, for example, a sequel in many ways to “Our Daughters Will Never be Free”’. Melodically it’s a gorgeous, slow burning torch song, but lyrically is a biting polemic which reflects on the failings of “women who claim to be different, the young feminists and the gender identity literati”. It also addresses the obsession with body image and the plastic nature of beauty which seems to have been embraced as the only form of female empowerment. Other bands and artists have tackled this thorny subject with varying degrees of success, but there are very few artists who would start a pop song with an opening line such as “Come on girls let’s try and bring out the rapist in the new men” or manage, a few verses later, to quite literally, stop you in your tracks with “Hey Doc take a knife and carve my snatch into a smile/Strip me and dissect me, milk my tears and tap my bile ” Angry, direct and quite brilliant. “Savages” may be their most personal song to date, and in a direct reference to Huxley’s “Brave New World” Simon and Julia question whether people actually need tragedy and beauty and clever songs? And they wonder if maybe they are the problem, the outsiders, the“savages”.
“Songs For Swinging Lovers” not only demonstrates the Indelicates trademark erudite lyrical dexterity and waspish sense of humour but also something that can often be overlooked, the fact they are incredibly talented musicians. Their ability to mix a wide range of styles, attack a myriad of targets and yet still have a coherent “Indelicate-sound” is something to marvel at. There’s the post punk anger of (“possible” anti-industry song,) “Your Money” (which contains one of the most memorable guitar riffs since “Another Girl Another Planet”) the almost gospel-esque sing- along chorus of “Jerusalem” (about private education) to the quite deranged and somewhat disturbing piano ‘murder- ballad’ that is “Roses”. “Songs For Swinging Lovers” proves that if anyone can save music from being sucked into the quagmire of inanity, it’s the Indelicates. They have more to say in the forty five plus minutes of this wonderful album than most bands can muster over an entire career. It’s powerful, angry and more personal than their début and yet is also laced with dark humour and proves that fun isn’t just the preserve of the feeble mined, it’s also the best British album since, well..,.”American Demo”… Why if they go on like this they might well be able to tempt me into believing in musicians again, which of course would be quite absurd!! 😉
* Exclusive extract from the limited edition book – part of the special edition version of the album.
For more on Corporate Records read the full press Outline here:
8 thoughts on “The Indelicates- ‘Songs For Swinging Lovers’-Review”
Argh, I fucking love the Indelicates. This album’s a stunner. God bet me a fiver it wouldn’t be as good as American Demo. I can’t wait to see the shock on his big beardy face.
Woah,” Ill” sounds awesome. Gotta get this album pronto !
Hope it lives up to the review. What am I thinking? It’s The Indelicates,of course it will !
It was with eager anticipation that I read Andy’s detailed and insightful review of the Indelicates latest album – the “difficult second album” if I may be so bold as to borrow a quote from their first.
As I listen to all the tracks now (having “negotiated” an advance copy myself) I can follow along with Mr. VP’s points of reference. Ah yes – there – and there – and there.
My initial reaction is that it is a sonic tour-de-force.
I know I will find many hidden gems, the more Iisten and deeper I dig.
Love this band and this blog