Skip to main content

Guinness – The Drink (World Records)

Here's a wheeze and a half: Guinness are/were a wonky pop duo with tentacles in various Edinburgh College of Art-sired bands, including Commie Cars and Edinburgh Leisure. Armed with John Shuttleworth-style toybox keyboards and wilfully rudimentary bass and de(con) structive guitar, throughout 2016 they produced deadpan absurdist vignettes, some of which were possessed with a tragicomic intent worthy of Tony Hancock.

After seven months they decided to split up, figuring that was quite long enough for them to have done their bit, thank you very much. Their last gift to the world is this twelve-track album, released solely on YouTube, although there's a download link if you want one, and it really is pure genius.

The opening instrumental title track somewhat appositely bumps and grinds its way across the dancefloor like very early Cabaret Voltaire, its primitive drum machine, motorik funk bass and wailing banshee guitar giving few clues to what follows. I'm A Zookeeper (Not A Goalkeeper) takes a reggaefied suburban stroll to the careers fair before settling down with a cuppa and some daytime telly in Trish, a sardonic soundtrack for the self-help age as our world collapses around us.

Kinderpunsch opens with a painfully cheery sample from a 1970s TV ad before shuffling grumpily into a withering litany of Christmas-time torpor punctuated with a drunken saxophone that farts its way through the grimmest of seasons. Bowling Green is a thumbnail sketch of pan-generational leisure pursuits, Readymade a sarky dig at art school dilettantism.

For all the bleak humour on show, the insistent delivery of the male/female vocals and little explosions of guitar suggest a more subversive intent. Practical Song reinvents Supertramp's earnest piece of 1970s self-absorbtion as a morbid Mogodon dirge that segues into Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise without batting an eyelid. The manic screech of a viola buried beneath shows just how scary the grown-up world has become. Signs of Life in the Computer confirms it with a plummy-voiced SatNav guide to an existential crisis played out on social media by a chorus of internet trolls.

The Comedian begins with what sounds like someone falling down the stairs before a grim tale of a self-loathing stand-up's rise to the dizzy heights of the London Palladium begins with the line “Do You Ever Feel Like You're Laughing At The Wrong Jokes?” The monologue's sparse backdrop hisses with discordant menace before the punch line comes with the deadly “I Find it all Hilarious But I Never Laugh At All.”

If the band's name hints at drink-fuelled obsessions, it continues with Schweppes Bitter Lemon, an electro-pop Cossack bop of a song which manages to reference Lenin, Putin and an unspecified Czar. In its desire to quench its thirst, a sample of what sounds like a TV shopping channel is followed by a list of all the things on the label that gives the pop its fizz. Scottish Water is an oddly touching off-kilter plea for self-determination through the medium of fresh drinking water north of the border. Finally, Doberman is the shaggiest of dog stories concerning what happens when the song's protagonist walks into a bar. Like the rest of The Drink, what happens next is no joke.

 
Product, December 2016
ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…

Rob Drummond – The Mack

Rob Drummond was at home in England when he looked at the news feed on his phone, and saw a post about the fire at Glasgow School of Art. It was June 2018, and the writer and performer behind such hits as Grain in the Blood, Bullet Catch and Our Fathers initially presumed the post was to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2014 blaze in GSA’s Mackintosh Building, which was undergoing a major restoration after much of it was destroyed.
As it turned out, the news was far worse, as reports of a second fire were beamed across the world. As someone who had taken Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic construction for granted while living in Glasgow, Drummond was as stunned as anyone else with even a passing relationship with the Mack.
While emotions continue to run high in response to the disaster, Drummond channelled his thoughts on all this into what he does best. The result is The Mack, a new play that forms part of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and a Pint lunchtime theatre season in Glasgow prior …