Third, and probably final, album from Welsh shadowy figures of chaos, The Anonymous Iconoclasts.
With this being probably their last album, the guys have pushed the boat out and squeezed twenty tracks onto this CD, which in the world of vinyl would be double album territory.
I doubt any band ever truly gives up the dream of being rich and famous, but these guys have been around the block a few times and I get the vibe they are happy to just get out to play to audiences in the flesh. They love making music and are just driven to play.
At the risk of blowing their cover, a Pete Frame Family Tree of this band would have names like The Five Darrens, Glee Club, The Bluesters, Heavy Quartet, Miracle Bros and Dansette and the Mummies on the chart.
It’s not a concept album as such, but much of it was written during lockdown, so inevitably the concept of solitude, isolation and a reset of how the world works are present.
It’s not all lockdown by any means though. Some of it was written before any of us had heard of Covid-19 and it wasn’t written and recorded all at once. Seventeen of the twenty songs were written by one member, in a number of locations, at different times: so lyrically it reflects many of the things going on in his head, from looking out the window on a rainy Bank Holiday, missing his daughter, to the incompetence of the Tory Government.
The album title ‘Send in the Suits’, and its cover, a picture of the Houses of Parliament, hint at an unspoken political awareness. They are not The Clash, Billy Bragg or Bob Dylan by any stretch of the imagination. Politics is not in ya face with the album, but if you pull on a lyrical thread, a deep and meaningful theme will unravel.
It’s fair to say that these guys are old enough to have grown up and started cutting their musical teeth when Punk Rock was doing its best to wipe away all that had gone before. It didn’t, obviously, but it did make people think about music differently.
When they play live, which is quite often, they throw in covers by the likes of Tom Petty, The Cars and Talking Heads. Whilst none of the tracks on this album sound like anyone else, you can’t help but notice the influences of their youth in the background. A post punk rejection of the ‘Three chords and shouty lyrics’ and the embracing of musicality.
The last time we saw them live someone tipped their table over and got covered in beer. The lead singer literally gave him the dry shirt off his back. This is a band of real people with hearts the size of a big thing, who just want to make music. What’s not to like?
There are no solos or showing off, but there are moments when you think – oooh that’s a tasty guitar lick. It is the sound of a band that have devoted four decades to making music and are doing this because they don’t know how to put their instruments down.
The anonymous song writer even learned to play harmonica during lockdown, so not only can he not put down his guitar, he’s picked up a new instrument.
It’s never full-on enough to to have you bouncing about like a bouncy thing, but it is always too interesting to ignore. There’s always something around the corner that makes you sit up and think.
Music for heads, hearts and seats.