The Grand Scheme of Things is the latest release from Drunk-Folk hero Beans on Toast. ‘Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’ is an accurate cliché listening to this album, but this unoriginality isn’t necessarily a bad thing. By the sixth album a lot of bands will either be trying something ‘experimental’ or will have already failed with that idea and will be desperately attempting to return to their roots. Beans on Toast has been consistent throughout his career and while his style hasn’t changed completely he has made some major developments, particularly in his song writing ability since his first record.
The consistency isn’t just in Beans on Toast’s music though, he releases an album every year on his birthday (1st December) and his live performances always provide a fun and carefree show. For those unfamiliar with his work, Beans on Toast plays simple four chord folk songs under lyrical explorations of themes of love, politics and drugs (not necessarily in that order) without taking himself or anything too seriously. His gritty voice may at first appear to be an acquired taste but the feel good atmosphere provided by each song makes it very easy for the singer to win you over.
[quote]The feel good atmosphere provided by each song makes it very easy for the singer to win you over.
Album opener ‘Folk Singer’ feels very similar to the albums second single ‘Whole Lot of Loving’; a ballad against the hatred we are force fed through mass media and in favour of a more loving and carefree society. The albums second track ‘War on War’ follows this theme, openly criticising the political “War on drugs”. ‘Fuck you Nashville’ doesn’t stand out particularly well on this album but it does display the musician’s ability to alter the feel of his music according to the theme of the song. Up until this point the album has been entertaining and light hearted but has not stood out hugely from his previous efforts.
‘The Chicken Song’ is where this album really hits its stride. The first single from the album shows Beans on Toast at his very best; a silly track able to provide a thought provoking analysis of a very serious topic, without being particularly serious in itself. Next is ‘Stinging Nettles’ a playful ode to adventure and the lack thereof that an overdependence on the internet has created. ‘Lizzy’s Cooking’ and ‘NOLA Honeymoon’ are the two songs on this album exploring love. It’s a refreshing experience to hear songs about the positives of real life relationships, these songs provide this well through their jolly feel and peppy lyrics. Who said chivalry was dead?
[quote]It provides moments of political insight in an incredibly light hearted manner and makes for very easy listening.[/quote]
The album comes to a close with more of the same; another protest song about consumerism in ‘All I see is Wagamama’, a gentle song based on friendship and his take on New Year’s Eve. All in all, it’s a fantastic album to listen to. It provides moments of political insight in an incredibly light hearted manner and makes for very easy listening. It doesn’t signify a genre-spanning career change for Beans on Toast, but frankly anyone that has ever been a fan of him should be glad of that.
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