Cherry Red 2021
Illuminating lanterns in the twilight of the gods, the minstrel from Leeds looks for verity it the time of psych-cholera.
There was little doubt that the last year’s tragedies and farces would create a perfect fodder for this artist’s next work. If 2020’s "The Magic Of Public Relations" had been released on the cusp of our current crisis and predicted the Covid-stricken world’s state, its follow-up uncovers what’s gone down since then. As usual, Trevor Midgley has found a few new-fangled angles to look at the woes of nowadays, which shine a slightly different light on the veteran’s time-tested singer-songwriter approach.
It’s a little atypical for Beau to begin a record on an anthemic note, rather than satirical hook, yet the murder of George Floyd shattered the Englishman strong enough to elicit a soul cry of “It’s Time To Fight Old Battles” that sees the bard in a nervous mode, masterfully stumbling over stanzas to arrive where the stark 12-string strum leads his belligerent balladry. But don’t be fooled by Trevor’s sympathy for the underdog, because he’s equally easily lashes at the simple folks who refuse to think in “Funfair For The Common Man” whence the album’s title emerged, so there’s balance, not bias, in these numbers. There’s equilibrium even in such hard-hitting tracks as “Bigfoot McInnes” which humorously hails hypocrisy of those making heroes out of villains, or the vaudevillian “A Little Something For Your Trouble” which stresses the irrelevance of using obscenities on-stage – only when “The Middleman” aims at social media vigilantes, Midgley is preaching to the choir for his targets will hardly ever listen to a Beau composition.
Still, despite the deliberate pathos of several pieces on display, there’s healthy sarcasm in this performer’s dealing with the latest plagues, “The Felon” turning disease into folk-styled conspiracy and “Comedy Gold” calmly mocking lockdown and exquisitely rioting against restrictions that recent policies entail. Which is why Trevor’s resort to nostalgia feels truly painful, and though “Tomorrow’s World” may seem a mere regret, “Germ An’ Measles” cruelly cuts to the core of it all. Here’s Beau at his sharpest – his traditional trips to the past replaced by focus on presence, the result being one of Midgley’s pivotal records… so the next album’s to be his most romantic, right?