Is there a more “2017” opening to an album than “the world is dying, shit is getting serious”?
It’s hard to think of one, but then given that this is the second album in as many months that prophesises the crumbling of civilisation perhaps this is the new normal.
With vast sections of the World at loggerheads with each other, the media stoking fear and mass surveillance being rationalised by increasingly sporadic acts of terrorism it’s increasingly looking as though we’re living some sort of nightmare Orwelian drama.
The downside of it all, as British folk singer Jay McAllister alludes to in his new album Cushty, is that we’re all fucked. But if there is a silver lining it is that in times of great darkness the arts often lead us into the light, and if you want the proof in the pudding you could do a lot worse than listening to the latest release from Beans on Toast.
His ninth studio album, Cushty is an unapologetic reminder of not only the state in which the world finds itself but crucially the impact it is having on people.
Robots taking jobs, 3D printers printing 3D printers, phones strapped to your face as you immerse yourself in make-believe are all gentle reminders that while technology plays a crucial role in modern society, it is having a big impact on the way it functions.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, and it’s not all that serious. In fact, the best songs on the album are where you get a dose of both. Major Oak is at times nonsensical and at times heart breaking, Taylor Swift is purely the former and I Think Everybody Should Be Terrified is completely the latter.
Overall this is McAllister at his best with a 14 song album that could easily be a 34 song album with the amount of material out there at the moment. One hopes that we’ll never see another Donald Trump again and that we can avoid Armageddon, but you’ll take it on the chin if it continues to inspire records like this.