Here Are The Young Men And Uncle Peanut just released their latest album, This Is The Standard Life on Musical Bear Records, and it’s a shimmering totem of punk, collaboration, commitment and, um… modernity.
It sometimes seems that punk bands spend a significant slice of their studio time referencing other bands, and calling up genre-elders to somehow qualify the energy that they’re about to spit. Yes, some of that happens here – opening track “Mark E Smith’s Still Doing The Fall” jumps right into a muddy puddle of influences – and splashes around in the sensibilities and sounds that have shaped the lives of Here Are The Young Men & Uncle Peanut. But this tune is somehow more than a calling up of credential-by-association, or a listing of ‘bands we have loved’. Perhaps subconsciously, in a meandering jaunt around names and events in punk and rock history Here Are The Young Men & Uncle Peanut show that punk, like blues, can be a country for old(er) men. And we, the audience, are wealthier for their presence.
The album is populated by disarmingly short tracks, they shoot across speakers with punchy run-times, typically landing at under two minutes – so you can dance to your favorite number and not get too tired before returning to the bar, your cell phone, or your love interest. Any track that expands on the snappy time structure sounds a little extravagant. Wonderfully indulgent is “Peanut Meets the Mayor” a veritable odyssey that stretches out for almost three and a half minutes as the narrator references crack foxes and typical Camden exotica. The tune itself is a solid example of what to expect from the rest of the album.
“Social comment and sirens” – feels like a suitably pretentious review tag for an album that explores all manner of malcontent, from the personal and political, to the musical –all with a kind of self-awareness that delivers the residual humor of the survivor… it sits there like coal dust, blackening the edge of things, coloring the lungs.
There’s a parallel here between the works of Sleaford Mods, and perhaps even Mike Skinner’s recently revived Streets project. Vocal brevity, and an astute lyrical approach that has removed all artifice, delivers a no-bullshit, on-the-level, assessment of the issues at hand. Instrumentally, This is the Standard Life, is wonderful – fuzzed melodies, distorted hooks and beats that rely on rock, more than hip hop, employed by the aforementioned contemporaries.
What Here Are The Young Men & Uncle Peanut achieve here is a display of authenticity that can only be accomplished when artists have endured long, hard winters in the secret part of the forest, or the back rooms of unflattering boozers. Perhaps this album is the best album that we’ve heard from Here Are The Young Men & Uncle Peanut, or perhaps we’re just excited to have new tunes from a band that should win way more acclaim than they do.
Go throw some money at a live ticket, download the album, or just talk about Here Are The Young Men & Uncle Peanut as often as you’re able – it’ll make you look good.
For their latest album we award Here Are The Young Men & Uncle Peanut one half-pint of Cider and Black to throw at the jukebox when Ed Sheeran comes on.
HURRY – LISTEN – HERE ARE THE YOUNG MEN & UNCLE PEANUT