We listened to this half a dozen times before reading the Press notes. The singer has got a bit of the “awight squire” Essex voice you expect to deliver jokey lyrics but doesn’t (in other places he sounds a bit Albarn so banish thoughts of Chas ‘n’ Davian antics). He sounds about 12, so when he laments the passing of punk (“What happened to the legacy/As punk rock iconography/turns up in Primark down on Oxford Street”) we shouted: “Come on son, Frank Carter was a grizzled veteran when you were born.”
Then we read up and realised the wee performer was one Samuel Lloyd Duckworth, 30¾, who is better known — relatively speaking — as the punctuationally challenged Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. He wrote nice indie tunes that never got him beyond cultdom, before he fell out with himself over musical differences and formed Recreations.
His track record explains why the tunes sound both accomplished yet indie; he could be a debutante with an album recorded in his back bedroom, not a man with half a dozen albums to his name. It explains the proficiency of the songwriting, though we guess Duckworth’s tales of frustrated life in Essex will not land him on the arena circuit just yet.
It’s all sprightly but reflective, Duckworth combing jaunty tunes with more downbeat reflections on life, such “All your hopes and dreams sold for a postcode” as he sings in opener Zones 9 & 10 (which we assume is a commentary about living on the untrendy edge of TfL services). “I feel for future generations/Moving here with expectations/Where did all the counter culture go” he sings, and laments the loss of good venues to oligarchs buying up land, selling the soul of London.
Musically it’s varied, from throbbing indie guitar to plinky Casio synth but it’s melodic throughout. It’s well-written pop, but it depends if you fall for Duckworth’s quirky lo-fi charm.