Three albums in Buster Shuffle stay true to the mantra ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ as they deliver another smorgasbord of what The Times termed ‘piano bashing cockney mayhem’. This is true until you realise that their London is so anachronistic you can smell the burning of flesh from 1666, the shitz spirit, a stammering inbred blueblood and a laundrette-only East End market square.
The tone is as all fings Cockernee, abaaaht the jamboree, the good times round the ol’ Joanna doing the Lambuff Warlk with the Pearly Kings and Queens whilst toasting the Teutonic monarch in Laaaahndun Taaahhrrn.
Stylistically ((pawk pie ‘at, braces, Fred Perrys), musically and lyrically they consist of the following (all-too-familiar) ingredients: Madness, Blur, Ian Dury, Small Faces, Libertines, Supergrass, Cardiacs, Chas and Dave with Brett Anderson’s stretched ‘Ohhh-vahs’. A hearty, if narrow recipe, yer pie and mash, if you will. This band is from London, d’ya hear?
There are familiar tales of rites of passage with some nice lyrics, usually about the ups and downs of life wiv dem girls, childhood recollections (‘chips and lemonade’) and the obligatory, pensive, rueful ballad and its ‘I don’t wanna talk about him, I just want to walk with you’ cry (‘Take him down’) a vignette of unrequited love and a ‘he doesn’t deserve you, we deserve each other’ lament.
Opener ‘South’ signifies the ‘Mansize Rooster’ shaped elephant in the room that dominates throughout seemingly rubbishing the gentrification of the capital; ‘organic vegetables, we won’t buy anything else’.
‘Naked’ pays tribute to the Empire coming home with a calypso feel.
Their song titles are interesting such as ‘I wrote this song because my girlfriend told me I was miserable’ and It’s ok because the kids are fashionable’ but every song is delivered at such forced reverie you need a nice cuppa and ‘five minutes’ to take stock.
It’s a far from unenjoyable album, but, it’s all been done before and better, it’s all too evocative of other bands and it fits in with how the rest of the world sees the UK; akin to Jean Baudrillard’s ‘simulacra’ this is an reimagined past that never existed (apart from in a shit US soap goes to the old country. Yes, you, Friends. Thank you for being so unfunny).
With Buster Shuffle there’s homage and there’s tribute and then … sometimes you (well, I) would like more innovation less imitation.
PS Has anyone got a copy of ‘How to write the Cockney lingo proper’ by Alfie Bass?