Single review

Martin Carr

So… Martin Carr – it’s been quite a long time since MC and BM crossed paths. Betty was an eyewitness to the Britpop wars of the mid-90s (she shagged them all, readers, only joking of course), in which Carr’s band, the Boo Radleys, took some heavy, near terminal hits. A talented but eccentric combo from Merseyside, TBR were, after some knee-trembling EPs and a wildly ambitious debut double album (remember those, readers) ‘Giant Steps’ (still for Betty’s money one of the best albums of the 90s) suddenly stars (and yes readers it’s a good idea to have a full stop now and again so here we go).

This came about when a track from second album (‘Wake Up Boo’) was somehow seized on by 1990s Bellend-de-Jour (his lawyers won’t understand, it’s in French) Chris Evans and played to death on Radio One and during his vomit-inducing (but unfortunately must-see at the time, before it metaphorically and literally in Chris’ case, disappeared up its own arse) TGI Fridays. BM understands that this guy is still out there and has just shape-shifted into a chat-show host, but mark my words, BM has a weather eye on him and will take him out if necessary (that’s not Verbal Threat, Stuart, now have my own legal team, inherited them from Tommy Sheridan) – we are probably talking about an Austin Powers-esque tit-machine gunning scenario, homage to Liz Hurley, it would be apt although might get on Betty’s, well you know…

Anyway, TBR had a number one album (yes really) on Creation Records (for it was they), must have just added more coke to the weekly order as this was the Oasis years, (and we are not talking about cola here, readers). So TBR were successful but not really noticed, but had to play ball and play nice with the British media, always a pretty grisly scenario for anyone with even half a brain.

BM thinks this had a bad effect on Carr, the main songwriter (ok Mr Eggman Sice the lead singer had a go as well but let’s face it he wasn’t as good, sorry Eggman) and let’s just say that Betty does not expect the Boos to feature in the “plays classic album” gigs any time soon, although who knows, if the JAMC can do it, well who’s next – and what will be the lowpoint in “classic” replays, Northside possibly, an obvious target, and still on the road – Betty will offer a pint and a snog to the most unlikely, unloved suggestion.

So here we are in 2014 and after a number of solo incarnations (Betty’s shuffle, yes really, I do have you haters, yesterday coincidentally came up with “Sailor” and there were also the Brave Captain years, couple of good albums/mini releases, formats long gone now but never mind. Some more electronic experimental sounds and worth checking out, readers.

This year appears to find MC in good fettle, and ‘Santa fe Highway’ is the lead track from a forthcoming album release that his (German) label hopes will get him back in the reckoning.

The track is very upbeat, starting with a nice fiddle riff. It is classic pop, which Carr has always been so good at, with the added knowing twists that come from life experience – some fab references, still a bit Beatles-ish, which the Boos were too, even submerged under layers of feedback and white noice.

Mid-tempo, the song seems to describe our hero being dissed by his girlfriend’s dad, then heading for the highway, or something. The melodies and harmonies are lush, the guitar riffs are sweet but there’s enough grit in the music and words to set it apart.

The narrative becomes quite hilarious and black, like an even worse version of Fargo (TV series, not the film) or an crap outtake of Twin Peaks (in a good way): “Your mother kissed me on the mouth…at your cousin’s 21st birthday”, OMG…

There is a brilliant instrumental breakdown some way through which references Motown, the Bee Gees or something, don’t think it’s a straight steal, annoying that BM can’t place it (steady on, lawyers have pricked up their ears, or geared up their pricks again), before it launches back into the fade-out.

In a fair world this would be a massive hit – Betty is afraid MC will have to settle for critical acclaim, and it certainly gets this critic’s juices going.

And let’s not even start on the excerpts from the tracks in German also on his label website, always gets Betty going, ‘Die Sonn’ sound pretty good. So respect due to Tapete as well.