Thing of the Day

Mike Scott new album, and an EP from In Bear Country

MAY 23rd 2011 

Today we have Mike Scott’s new album as a Thing of The Day, some sketchbook acoustic punk and something a little less disposable and not just chirping like a bird and making money from fourteen year old girls…

Mike scott, Saturation Point coverMIKE SCOTT – Saturation Point (Fond Of Life) – There’s some beautiful honestly here, some stripped back words and some heartfelt tunes. Short songs, very personal songs, almost sketchbooks, ideas left bare for all to feel; some of them almost feel like unfinished bits of songs. They sound right though, they don’t sound unresolved, just there, bare…. Just a man and an acoustic guitar most of the time, with an occasional bit of acoustic instrumentation and female backing voice, but mostly just a man with a guitar. Bit of a Billy Bragg in terms of southern English Essex-voiced delivery, yet more of a personal agenda than Mr Bragg, more in tune with Frank Turner’s personal journeys. 

Mike Scott was one time bass player with melodic hardcore punk outfit Phinius Gage: seems he left them in 2007 to concentrate on his acoustic punk rock songs. There’s been a few singles and things, and this is Mike’s debut album – and these are very much punk rock songs, bare honest open simple punk songs, clever songs, extremely likeable songs (had this album on repeat for most of the day here, never gets boring, little bit more revealed each time..), Seventeen songs, all short, all sounding like ideas, one verse, the bare bones of a chorus – stripped back to basic or work in progress, daring or cop-out?, 

Most of Saturation Point is very personal – relationships, mess ups, hope, anger -   some of it crusading, some of it blunt, some of it cynical, a lot of it positive... some of it familiar punk rock ground – state of the scene, the people, state of the world, state of his tabloid Mike Scotttown, could be any town, he does sounds like he’s from the southern counties of England, one of those towns where those Polish immigrants have taken all of our jobs, the ones none of us wanted to do anyway..  Simple songs, basic songs, angry songs, personal songs, modern folk songs, constructive things left in the air, unifying songs, King Blues, Levellers, lots of reasons to wake up, lots of regard for things like human space. 

Saturation Point is a simple thing, an uncomplicated uncluttered album, a very very likeable album made by a clearly very agreeable person. An honest open album, and despite some of the subject matter and money being tight right now and the favours we’re all having to call in in these hopeless times when were not all in it together and their big society doesn’t really include most of us... despite all, this is a hopeful album. Maybe we are at a saturation point and there may be thousands and thousands of albums and bands coming at you, it might be a hopeless thing to even be in a band? No, never hopeless... worth taking the time to search this one out, and then when you have, worth giving it a little time and space to breath before it really reveals itself as a beautifully honest album…

I hadn’t read the notes on the cover (like to avoid them until the music has done the talking), and I see it says in his liner notes: “Music is disposable right now, a million artists after your attention. This is my reaction to it, our first full-length album. It’s a scrapbook of ideas done at low budget.”

Mike Scott also has another new album called (ALMOST) EVERYTHING ELSE out on AAAHH!!! Real Records at the moment, a collection of those singles, EPs and such he’s already put out

Meanwhile, also out this month on Fond Of Life:

In Bear CountryIN BEAR COUNTRY – In Bear Country EP (Fond Of Life) - That earnestly emotional gruff throat, that raw roar of commitment that comes with these punk pop bands. This is a universal sound, they could be from anywhere, but In Bear Country are actually from Vancouver, Canada and this is a debut five track EP out on respected German punk label Fond Of Life. The members of the band have more than served their time in other Canadian punk bands, names like Daggermouth, Run River, End This Week With Knives and such.  In Bear Country are dishing out a somewhat generic sound, what you really need to pull this (same old) thing off and stand out from the others, is killer songs - well, these five here are kind of alright, nothing that’s really grabbing hold of us in any kind of serious way. Lot of energy, lot of solid attitude, clearly a bunch of been ‘round the block punks who are still committed to their thing while they get on with their cussing about integrity and such - they’ve clearly got things to say, and there’s some meaning here, some depth, some passion, they’re not just chirping like a bird and making money from fourteen year old girls… Now if only the tunes and the musical moves were just a little tiny bir less obvious, if only they were doing just a little more that sticking to the Hot Water Music, Jawbreaker blueprint… Decent enough five tracker, they do it well…  

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