Dark poetry is blended with Goth folk in an attempt to produce a subtle emotive sound.
However this self-infatuated and fatuous musical narrative is really just a simple and desperate plea for your attention.
Throughout my life I have encountered the dividing line between Punk/Rock and Emo. This is not so much a battlefield as a void of ignorance. Lupen Crook has tap danced that line throughout his musical career, until he has now finally dived into a dull madness.
His previous work had a certain refined, almost Gothic quality to it, even if it felt dated and unaccomplished. The double A side ‘World’s End’ and ‘Devil’s Son’ worked in their own very naive way. They illustrated a determination and idolatry which had potential. However the bottom line is that musically Crook just isn’t that great. Of course a little thing like talent wouldn’t stop a real musician, and it hasn’t stopped Lupen Crook. He has in fact released three previous albums and toured either solo or with his backing band, The Murderbirds.
Critics have previously claimed that Crook is too ‘weird’ for folk music but too folk for the trend setting kids. This of course is not only a giant insult to folk music but also a contradiction in terms. I mean, too weird?! Have you ever listened to a Fairport Convention album? It makes Waiting for the Post-Man look like a toaster manual. Plus these critics use folk as a negative with regards to the cool and mainstream needs of Emo fans. This undervalues folk greatly and overvalues Emo music. It also expresses an unawareness musical history that is almost nihilistic. Why can’t people just come out and say no one likes him instead of treating Crook like Marmite? If you can’t tell by now, this album for many distinct reasons made me angry. None of these reasons were due to a resonance with the music.
Crook’s latest limited edition release is nicknamed his ‘domestic’ album, because it was produced in his own home studio. This denotes his music with the same significance that Marks and Spencer ‘hand made’ pasta has. The album was inspired by the life and works of his friend, Matthew Stephens Scott, who unfortunately died last year. Yet the real shame is that this inspiration led to a musically bland, lyrically inane, unsophisticated series of self-obsessed, bed wetting folk rock songs.
The non-existent dynamics and mediocre sense of humour mean listening to this album is like giving blood, but without any of the Dark Wave connotations. Basically it drained me of energy and afterwards I needed to recover with a biscuit and some juice, whilst watching day time television.
this album for many distinct reasons made me angry. None of these reasons were due to a resonance with the music.
Let me be even blunter if I can, his voice isn’t impassioned or skilled and his guitar work is basic and derivative. However my greatest point of contention is Lupen Crook’s use of words.
Lyrically simple and hackneyed, he obviously tries to be original in his songs. He uses odd scenarios and analogies but they come out mundane and stereotyped. These attempts at cryptic metaphor become vulgar commentaries, with even the album title being used like a bad Carry On film:
Cat shit on the carpet, Hand marks on the walls, Waiting for the post-man who never arrives.
There is obviously a psychological ache somewhere even if it is clichéd, meaning the resulting record is filled with a raw tribute to the harsh life of his friend, as well as the life of Crook himself. Nevertheless these lyrics denote a rock and roll lifestyle that is not portrayed through any of Crook’s work. I don’t mean he doesn’t bring it up enough, he comments on it like a child who has discovered a new swear word. His previous album, The Pros and Cons of Eating Out, was filled with reference to his alcohol induced partying ways. What I refer to now is the general soul of his music; the instrumentals, the choruses and the overall architecture of his album screams faking it rather than rocking it.
‘A Little More Blood On The Tracks’ is so terribly Emo I actually had trouble listening to the entire thing without slapping someone (I want to say sorry now to Oliver, who assisted in me letting my rage out safely). The track is basically about a depressed guy and his depressed girlfriend, who may or may not have dumped him. I would have too, especially if he kept commenting on my mental health. Halfway through though, the tempo speeds up and the depressing ditty decides to try and beguile you with soft, meaningful philosophies on love. For example-
I’d love to see you smile, but I’d settle for a frown. I guess sometimes life means, living without.
Hark the genius poet of our generation! Oh no wait, that’s just bollocks.
‘Chasing Dragons’ is a far neater and at least mildly more exciting track than it’s counterparts, yet again there is something vaguely uncharismatic about it. Actually anti-charismatic is a better adjective and can successfully be applied to the entire record and the artist himself.
I don’t wish to drag this album’s analysis out any farther. Needless to say however, I listened to this album so you won’t have to. That’s Trebuchet Magazine, supplying quality control for your musical future.
As for Lupen Crook, I have one last thing to say:
Stick to the Emo kids you talentless wannabe and leave the adults alone.
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. – Aristotle