In these times of descriptive hyperbole and overstatement it seems as if a day doesn’t go by without a “totally unique” band being wafted my way. In fact these one in a million bands crop up nine times out of ten, and when they do it seems as if they are built from the off cuts of what ever fickle fashion trend has just breezed through. That is what makes bands such as Sergeant Buzfuz so vital, for without trying too hard they embody uniqueness and difference but in a way that comes from the very make-up of their alien musical genes rather than as the result of a PR company middle management meeting.
Humble Pie is a wonderful collection of clattering anti-folk, warped psychedelic pop and strange, experimental post-punkery. Across four songs they somehow beat new paths through strange but vaguely recognisable musical hinterlands manage to somehow sound consistent, beguiling and odd yet at the same time reassuringly familiar.
The titular opening track is a rattle bag of raw folk and jaunty 60’s pop, a vibe which bridges the gap between 2015’s Balloons For Thin Linda and what follows” it feels like the business end of a line which threads back through the likes of The Soft Boys, XTC, The Kinks and The Beatles. People in Power is pure underground post-punk pop but it is the second half of the e.p. which offers the real gems. The Whole Hospital is Talking About It and The Ventriloquist’s Funeral take the form of spoken stories set to sound, the former a hypnotic and wonderfully pent up coiled spring of a song, the latter built of darker, more ambient threads.
It’s easy to affect oddness but real eccentricity must be natural, unforced and free flowing, it requires intelligence and picking just the right strands of creativity, intelligence, bizarreness and subversion. All traits that seem to come naturally to Sergeant Buzfuz.