When The Singing Loins broke up shortly after the release of …here on earth, there was much wailing an gnashing of teeth.
And rightly so.
I may make much of Medway music on these pages and in my videos – as if no other part of the country has had the wit to cobble together a community of musicians before – but when it came to the Loins, there was a real feeling that this band in particular were Medway’s darlings. Rough and ready darlings for a rough and ready part of the world.
So their loss was keenly felt across the board.
A very pleasant surprise indeed then when, amidst further news of Brexit gloom and Boris buffoonery, Medway musos’ social media feeds were filled, yesterday morning, with splendid news. The Loins are back! There’s a new single. There’s an album on the way. Much rejoicing in heaven and, indeed, here on earth.
‘Your Aerial’s Bent, Mate’ is a brilliant return. At once typically and atypically Loins; a bouncy, poppy track with heavily amplified bass guitar and distortion pedals aplenty. There’s little here that would immediately recall the “trash-folk” epithet of yore.
Yet it is still a very Loins-y tune. And not just because of Chris Broderick’s distinctive vocals, complete with gleefully rolled “R”s on words like “irrevocably” and “ridiculously”. It is, like so much of this band’s music, about broken people, their imperfections and frailties, the way we can misunderstand ourselves:
I know you’re just trying to be a man – a kindly man
But you’re getting all your signals wrong…
I know you see yourself as an easy-going chap
And it surprises you that others don’t.
It all makes for a very candid assessment of personality flaws (“no pliers and no hammer and no nothing will ever straighten it out/we’re breaking it right off”). With an economy of words, the song paints a tender, warts and all picture of a complicated character. And that is entirely what we have come to expect from the band over the years.
The fact that they deliver this against a tune to which you can positively pogo around the room makes it all the more enticing as a piece of art.
The song is accompanied by a fantastic video: a three and a half minute lesson in lo-fi magnificence, incorporating stop-frame animation and a cardboard box TV recalling something of Evil Edna. Even with the sound turned down it’s a thing of simple brilliance.
You can probably tell I’m a bit of a fan.
You can download the single from The Singing Loins’ Bandcamp page.
Read more about the history of the band – and many other Medway musicians besides in Do It Yourself: a History of Music in Medway (Cultured Llama).