Things I like. Bands with tongue in cheek, ridiculously long names (though not those over-earnest metal bands that try too hard…who wants to go and see The Radioactive Zombie Mutant Bikers From Hell, anyway?), accordions trying to subvert the expectations of the modern music listener, the two and a half-minute pop song, people who sing like it’s still 1984 and the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen are still regarded as gods and Julian Cope had not yet taken too many drugs and fallen off the world. Music that sounds quintessentially English. So all that said how could I not fall in love with ‘A Funny Thing You Said’, the latest release from the wonderfully named Superman Revenge Squad Band.
Although effectively a one man operation and known for a minimalistic approach to making music, Ben Parker is back with a new expansive musical direction and an album of songs enhanced by drums, accordion, saxophone and cello which goes under the typically obtuse name of There is Nothing More Frightening Than The Passing of Time. But don’t be fooled by the instrument roster, this is no dye in the wool, finger in the ear, beardy, pipe smoking folk collection, nor is it an indulgent jazz work out. In fact, I’m not really sure what you’d call it, which is quite a thing for a reviewer to admit. Subversive underground pop? Ambient indie? Lo-fi jazz-folk? Maybe the moniker that Ben has tagged himself with…commercial suicide!
Whatever it is it doesn’t seem to fit with modern expectations, saxophone and accordion intro, stop-start dynamic, intelligent lyrics and a vocal delivery that has as much in common with the heady, new wave days of 1983 as it does with the music of 2013. It may be a hard track to pin down, so if you like your music neatly packaged and labelled, Ben is not your man; but whatever it’s all about, it’s a great track and a wonderful advert for the forthcoming album.