Saturday, 12 December 2015

Year by year: 2009

Luke Haines – 21st CENTURY MAN

In 2015, 21st Century Man sounds old-school. Luke Haines writings songs about Klaus Kinski, married couples leaving London for English countryside, Russian futurists and Peter Hammill. No concept, just songs. I miss that. I enjoyed the one about Kendo Nagasaki and I enjoyed the one about Nick the Badger, but the annoying “Lou Reed Lou Reed” single was a lazy excuse for primitive rock’n’roll and this year’s messy Mark E. Smith related EP was not too hot either. I’m all for an artist going places and self-indulgent whimsy can be fun, but somehow it has felt slight. Hit and miss, too, Luke in the full Twitter mode. Too many sycophantic followers praising every line, perhaps? British Nuclear Bunkers is either ridiculous or fantastic (probably both), but there’s just not too much songwriting thought going on. Or is it that I’m like NBA’s Gregg Popovich dismissing 3-point shots as circus stuff and preferring the old-school brand of ball-moving basketball? The one that involved more effort and more deliberation? Also, in 2015, 21st Century Man sounds like Luke Haines’ last great album – if you forget about The North Sea Scrolls for a second. Stretching from glam-rock (“Wot A Rotter”) to acoustic semi-ballads (“Love Letter To London”). I do not want to be stuck in the past and reinforce my sentimental tendencies, but come on now: a melody doesn’t lie. So just give “Klaus Kinski” another listen. A songwriting masterclass if there ever was one.