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Beans on Toast: A Spanner in the Works

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Beans On Toast is the stage name of folk singer Jay McAllister from Essex. He’s a mate of Frank Turner, and thus gets to play Wembley supporting Frank and then considerably smaller venues on his own account. (He just played Manchester Gorilla).

A Spanner in the Works opens with an angry rant about 2016. If you don’t agree with McAllister’s politics you may well stop listening here as he sings about “referendums, algorithms, the rise of fascism, return of hooliganism”. Lyrics include “goodbye to Prince, hello to laws that still prevent gay people getting married” and “dinosaurs are not evolving”, as well as a complaint that Farage, Boris and Gove are “self-righteous, self-serving twats telling us we want our country back.”

He also (rightly) has a go at people who “washed your Facebook and think everyone believes the same as you”. He’s so left wing, he has a go at Billy Bragg for copping out of protest songs.

Similarly, Money For War makes the point that there’s always money for war but not for GPs, nurses, the NHS, teachers, people on benefits, the disabled and young mothers.

It’s not all politics: I Can Be That Tree is a touching love song (especially for those of us who planted trees when we got married); The Drum Kit is a ska tune talking about small music venues closing down because neighbours complain about the noise, making the point that all those bands the middle classes are so fond of started off learning their craft in small clubs.

Other songs are more predictable. It’s Only Natural is about legalising weed and Down The Pub is a playful ditty about putting the world to rights over a pint. Fear Mongering Clap Trap is about global warming and migration, and rhymes “Don’t say nobody warned ya” with “The world is getting warmer”.

Musically, it’s still McAllister’s sing-song Essex vocals over music, though he’s added some electronic instrumentation and mixes jazz, folk, electronica and pop.


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