wed 12/12/2018

CD: The Proclaimers - Angry Cyclist | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Proclaimers - Angry Cyclist

CD: The Proclaimers - Angry Cyclist

Tenth album from Scottish pair has poetic teeth, righteous attitude and solid songs

The people's flag is deepest red

A sight every music fan should see and hear once is The Proclaimers playing Scotland. Around 18 years ago I saw them play a giant marquee at the T In The Park Festival. It was like a rally, a roaring wall of joyful fanaticism (on which note, their autumn 2018 tour there sold out 30,000 tickets in 20 minutes!). If it was a rally, though, it was a righteous, tending-to-socialism one for The Proclaimers have a strand of activism in their blood. On their latest album, this is writ large.

The title track sets the stage at the start, a two-and-a-half minute classic, one of their best, with punk attitude biting straight into our closed-minded, anti-community times – “Give ignorance a chance/With fascists we will dance by and by”. The songs on Angry Cyclist are all short, the longest 3”46’ and many well under three minutes, but they jump straight in and get on with it.

The Reid twins – Charlie and Craig - are poets in the manner of the young Paul Weller, delivering snappy couplet after pithy one-liner, whether on “Information”, an observational number about graffiti “behind the old drill hall”, which has whiffs of “That’s Entertainment” about its perspective, or the brilliant, cabaret-style “Classy”, satirizing the way we’re all kept in our place (“Cross the Atlantic, it’s just as frantic, riches pleading poverty/When your daddy lends you a million, you can lead the land of the free”).

Musically, however, it’s business as usual. The Proclaimers veer across various styles, from the driving cod-soul bounce of the anthemic, optimistic “Sometimes It’s The Fools”, to the skifflin’ “A Way With Words”, but the truth is they’re always in their country-folk comfort zone (especially on the closing waltz-time “I’d Ask the Questions”), a sound not too far from their long ago contemporaries, The Housemartins. Thus those looking for the sonic fizz of musical innovation will not find it here. If, however, you’re seeking cleverly crafted songs, festival-ready, with brotherly harmonies to spare, a rich engagement with the world around, and the whole served with passion, Angry Cyclist is a one-stop shop.

Below: Watch the video for "Angry Cyclist" by The Proclaimers
 

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