Landing on the review pile hot on the heels of Nick Harper and The Wilderness Kids new album, these two artists may come from similar places but their deliveries are worlds apart. What it does suggest though is that whilst history may be written by the winners, in this case the rising right, it is the liberals who have all the best tunes.
Jay McCallister’s musical alter ego Beans On Toast travels his usual territory, less conventional songs more rambling conversational views on the world from the warm side of the steamy pub window and set to fairly minimal musical accompaniment. And where as the aforementioned Nick is the musical equivalent of the firebrand orator soapboxing in Speakers Corner, Beans represents the guy in the street trying to work out the truth from the bullshit just as bemused and confused, ill-informed and winging it as the rest of us. For that reason he is charmingly ordinary and totally accessible, he sounds just like the voice in your own head except that it seems to have donned a baseball cap, learned a few chords and made an album without you.
Across 14 songs he tries to get his head around Brexit, find his place in the Europe as an outsider, falls in love with England all over again, tackles racism, gender equality, austerity policy and all the other concerns of the, for want of a better term, little man. But this is no cynical rant or clinical rave, in his usual understated way it is heartfelt but gentle, poignant and silly in equal measure, it is relatable and rather than demand answers it just raises a few rhetorical questions and then sets about alleviating your fears by reminding us that sometimes hugging your loved ones and having a drink with good friends makes the rest go away. At least for a while.