fri 05/06/2020

CD: Baxter Dury – Happy Soup | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Baxter Dury – Happy Soup

CD: Baxter Dury – Happy Soup

The son also rises: Ian's big lad comes of age

Baxter Dury: a chip off the old blockhead

First things first. Baxter Dury is the son of Ian Dury and from the moment Happy Soup kicks in with his cockney monotone on the ska-flecked "Isabel" there is no court in the land that would deny the vocal DNA. But that does not mean that Dury Junior's third album is disappointing.

First things first. Baxter Dury is the son of Ian Dury and from the moment Happy Soup kicks in with his cockney monotone on the ska-flecked "Isabel" there is no court in the land that would deny the vocal DNA. But that does not mean that Dury Junior's third album is disappointing. Happy Soup might lack the exquisite verbal gymnastics of his father's work, but it makes up for it with a gentle, electro wistfulness and a keen sense of yearning.

Happy Soup is one of those quintessentially English pop gems that anyone who loves the holy trinity of The Kinks, Madness and Blur should immediately grab. The pocket-sized musical stories speak of life in the city, from the wheezy fairground pop of "Hotel in Brixton" to "Trellic", a love song set around the west-London tower block that has gone from sink estate to chintzy des res in recent years.

Dury's tissue-soft vocals waft by while guitars tinkle and bass lines gently groove. There is more than a hint of early Lily Allen in the way the fiendishly simple melodies have a habit of lodging in your brain. The 10 plinky-plonk tracks might sound as if they were recorded in Dury’s bedroom on a laptop for sixpence, but they are pitch perfect.

It is a shame that this album was released in this strife-torn week. It does not quite chime with the times, preferring to concentrate on the personal rather than the political. Dury is no sports-shop-looting spring chicken, but like all of us he is clearly trying to make sense in his own way of this increasingly messy world. It might be a startlingly familiar one to pub-rock fans, but Happy Soup is the album where Baxter Dury has truly found his voice.

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