Date:October 13, 2014
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A review of...
There's No Underground by Papernut Cambridge
Supergroup's second album is an enjoyable ode to the 70s
A pop record by an mini super-group, it's fitting that There's No Underground is divided up into 6 sections, representing the sides of 3 maxi singles (sides A to F) because it has the essence of a bygone age where catchy singles like this could be hits, even if they were uttered by a rag tag bunch of jaded middle aged folk. Those middle aged folk include leader Ian Button & Matt Flint (of Death In Vegas), Darren Hayman & Jack Hayter (of Hefner), Robert Rotifer, Robert Halcrow, Ralegh Long and many more. The title could be a reference to trains (they did an album launch inside a tube carriage at Walthamstow Pumphouse Museum and Darren Hayman is an "out" rail enthusiast), or it could be a comment on the outdated notion of being an "underground" act in an age where everything is instantly accessible. Either way, in terms of sound Papernut Cambridge make no attempt to appear cool on an album that sometimes drifts into ridiculous pastiche (with "Rock n Roll Sunday Afternoon City Lights" being a presumably deliberate gravel voiced romp akin to Smokie or the Auf Weidersehen Pet theme tune, two things I'm actually quite fond of in small doses). The majority though is a cosy, smoky, rhythm and boozey batch of tunes with a very British, very 70's charm. The unlikely Death In Vegas/Hefner combo is actually a huge red herring because this album sound like neither of those bands. It's the sound of its players unchained and free to make whatever they want to, without fear of reprisals. And who could argue against that?
"Accident's Children" - a slow jam layered with keys, piano and off kilter percussion. Perhaps one of the least likely chart-buster on the record, and therefore one which sticks out like a sore thumb. In a good way.
"A Cloud Fallen Down From The Sky" - two and a half minutes of late night drinking music, this is like a cosy old '45 that you just haven't heard yet. It's also the sound of the band getting semi-serious for a moment.
Listen if... you like T-Rex, Hyde & Beat, Jim Noir