Scott Lavene’s new album, ‘Broke’ borrows from the rich tradition of semi-spoken songs popularised by Pulp, Blur, Squeeze, Lou Reed – even Chas and Dave – and blends it with a cheeky chappy ethos and autobiographical lyrics which will leave you clamouring to find out what happens next. ‘Broke’ is out this Friday, June 7, through Funnel Records.
You’ll listen to ‘Broke’ and be overcome with a weening sense of familiarity – songs such as ‘Superclean’, which was released early last month are instant earworms that you’ll feel you’ve known for years. In speaking of the song, Lavene said,
It’s a pop bop, a strut. I wanted to write a song that was less literal than others I write. I wrote it one morning during the recording of the album, in the kitchen of the producer who was letting me stay at his house. It’s about feeling good, a new chapter, eternal optimism, escape . It has a retro feel to it so we tried to make the video look like a 70’s sci fi movie.
Lavene’s musical style is friendly and warm, with repeated references to double denim and lyrics which tell deep stories, which at times can be quite sad. Check out his laments about the state of society, in ‘My Stereo’, and especially ‘Modern World’ where he makes candid references to wanting a better life, or at least a world where he can live unperturbed by politics.
It’s hard to pinpoint his exact style. At times it’s very retro – think Bread, even The Beatles; yet he skips across genres as if they were inconsequential – and indeed they are, why be constrained to labels – and this happens not just across the album, but even within the songs themselves. ‘Moonbeams’ starts out with a folk/country vibe, akin to Neil Young, but then through a series of twists and turns reaches its destination as a pop song. Lavene is truly punk – he doesn’t give a damn what anyone else thinks, if a song’s got to be sung it’ll be sung whatever way he damned well pleases.
‘Light Of The Moon’ comes out snarling like Lou Reed in ‘Sweet Jane’, if Jane came from Essex, and Lou worked in a factory in Dagenham. This is possibly our favourite song on an album filled with highlights. The track has a beat poet vibe about it, it’s like a lyrical ‘On The Road’.
It’d be remiss of us to not mention Scott’s band, The Pub Garden. They back up Lavene’s often meandering lyric style, automatically anticipating what he’s going to do next, meeting the words where they need to be. You could just as easily listen to an entire album of the instrumentals, and – funnily enough – that’s what Lavene was going for:
Rhythmically I wanted to be able make a whole album where you could just listen to the drums and bass and yet twist with street stories and with an instrumental sixties atmosphere like Gainsbourg or film soundtracks like David Lynch or Wim Wenders – sort of like making soundtracks for films that had not been made.
Indeed, title track ‘Broke’ is one of those tracks that instrumentally is all David Lynch-like, before Lavene adds his voice, transforming it into a beat poem. Listen to the lyrics though and you realise the music tells the true story. It’s a sad stroll through Lavene’s work history and although there’s humorous elements, such as his girlfriend’s sigh, and the kind and decent fella” who brings around a shopping list worth of food for him –
2 bottles of gin, 4 bottles of wine, some Fray Bentos pies, 6 tins of cheap Irish stew, a packet of gingernuts, and a loaf of SHIT bread.
‘Broke’ is only nine tracks long, and yet it feels just right. It’s unconventional and extraordinary, comfortable yet challenging. ‘Broke’ is out this Friday, June 7. You can catch Scott Lavene and The Pub Garden at the following:
7th June, The Beehive, Swindon
10th June, Crofter’s Rights, Bristol
11th June, Servant Jazz Quarters, London
12th June, The Prince Albert, Brighton
13th June, The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
14th June, Retro, Manchester
15th June, The Caledonia, Liverpool
Watch the video for the title track here:
Find Scott Lavene and his music online on his official website.