We've maintained on here before that you cannot review Half Man Half Biscuit. They just work on a completely different sphere to everyone else, so while any deviations from musical orthodoxy are so uncommon as to be actively notable it's in the references, the targets, the lyrics, damn, the whole ethos of Nigel Blackwell.
MJ Hibbett is much the same, which makes a kind of sense given the Peterborough raised, Leicester established, now resident in the not exactly as unique London songsmith formed his backing band in the hope of getting HMHB supports, with some success (and Nigel gets a namecheck herein). Ofen jaunty, occasionally wistful, mildly folky indie as she used to be writ is the default setting, on top of which Hibbett waxes wry about the things that concern a working man gradually ekeing his way through his thirties, full of sardonicness and observational charm. We've seen him and them three times in the last year and a bit in various circumstances and fully enjoyed each and every one of them.
There's a new album. It's called Regardez, Ecoutez et Repetez, properly released on 11th May on Hibbett's own Artists Against Success. Topics tackled include why men aren't actually all sad/bastards/sad bastards, the ills of being "politically incorrect" and proud, taking responsibility for your own weight, why kids don't understand the lyrics of the Smiths' Ask any more, love in the IT department, social engagements ending too late and, on the seven minute epic closer Leicester's Trying To Tell Me Something, Hibbett lamenting that all his old playing and drinking haunts are being shut down in the name of "progress" - something close to our heart too, evidently - so much so that he had to re-record part of the vocal late on when the Charlotte shut. Also on the album: The Music Of The Future. It's smart, fabulous stuff, perhaps even his best full-length, and confirms Hibbett's position as a unique sort of national treasure. In short: GRATE!
MJ Hibbett & The Validators - My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
A limited run of early CDs feature a booklet explaining all; the normal version merely sticks it on a PDF on the disc alongside a Vlad Facts magazine and an album's worth of demos, including this otherwise unreleased track:
MJ Hibbett & The Validators - This Is The Soundcheck
Back in 2003, in fact on This Is Not A Library, they sounded much like this:
MJ Hibbett & The Validators - Things'll Be Different When I'm In Charge
Hibbett plus Validators launch the album on 9th May at The Fly, London WC1A with The Kiara Elles supporting, then tour in late May. Mark will be playing on the Indietracks train - we've put in an order for breathing aids in confined spaces already - before heading up to Edinburgh for...well...