thu 15/11/2018

CD: The Good, The Bad & The Queen - Merrie Land | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Good, The Bad & The Queen - Merrie Land

CD: The Good, The Bad & The Queen - Merrie Land

This modern-day supergroup is a reminder of why supergroups are generally a bad idea

Merrie Land: a dirge without a groove

Pram are an experimental pop band from Moseley in Birmingham, who specialise in creating quirky soundscapes, eerie songs and whoozy instrumentals using all manner of strange instruments. They are also unlikely to ever achieve a mass following. The Good, The Bad & The Queen, on the other hand, are a modern-day supergroup, made up of former members of The Clash, Fela Anikulapo Kuti's Africa '70, Blur and The Verve, who have seemingly tried to appropriate Pram’s sonic template to make music that is infinitely less interesting but is likely to be heard by considerably more people than our south Birmingham heroes. The world is an unfair place but what can you do?

Merrie England is The Good, The Bad & The Queen’s second album and follows the marginally more interesting self-titled debut of 12 years ago. It is also a directionless dirge with tuneless, little-boy -ost vocals that is only likely to engage the discerning listener for long enough to reach for the “off” button. Indeed, when you consider the wealth of talent involved in its production, it’s shocking to consider what a tedious misfire Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, Tony Allen and Simon Tong have created between themselves. This is an album that is truly worth a fraction of the sum of its parts.

From the opening title track through to set closer “The Poison Tree”, Albarn and his cohorts give the impression that they are purposely avoiding picking up on anything that faintly resembles a groove, as they churn out unfinished and unfocused tunes that sound little better than semi-formed demos. In fact, it is hard to view Merrie Land as anything more than a practical joke that is being played on the more gullible fans of their previous musical output.

A directionless dirge with tuneless, little boy lost vocals that is only likely to engage the discerning listener for long enough to reach for the “off” button

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