Friday, December 04, 2009
Sweeping The Nation Albums Of 2009: Number 27
Fight My Battles For Me starts with a red herring of sorts. Over a cheap keyboard with inbuilt drum machine, Pagan Wanderer Lu/Andy Regan casually details how he's fearful of losing his rag in public and generally "fucking up my life" while aware anger is "apparently the only thing that keeps me creative". A red herring because while never quite escaping what sounds like a pleasingly bedroom set-up it's hardly that knowingly amateurish. Of sorts because it's old keyboards plus social pondering, an idiosyncratic set-up that emphasises that however he manages it Regan has something personally experimental and unique going on.
Lyrically the album approaches its big topics sideways on rather than be preachy or overt, so Regan pitches himself as referee in a violent young offenders vs asylum seekers parks game (The Gentleman's Game), losing his social life in favour of online life (2.0///The Bridge Of Sighs, with a big schlock/goth rock chorus) or observing Winston Churchill's battle with depression as his nights out partner ((You & Me And) Winston Churchill). The treatise on private schooling that is The Tree Of Knowledge ("...can fuck my apples") incorporates heavy duty and somewhat scatological attacks on the whole set-up and an effect in which a tape is ejected and turned over, at which the chorus begins playing backwards. There are more conventional moments, Stop Traveller! Stop And Read's lilting melody even as Regan questions and theorises on his own musical endeavour and its impact on his own life and Knots' sub-two minute acoustic folk, but two of the most offbeat and affecting tracks deal with armed conflict. Good Christian/Bad Christian tackles war in religion's name with agitated whirring synths, while The Memorial Hall, in a slightly different form from its leading The Independent Scrutineer EP, is all the more poignant for being able to better make out the lyrics in the slower fast half before the chiptune disco takes over. For an album that lasts over an hour it's surprisingly coherent despite its changeability, continuing to mark PWL out as a lo-fi auteur of great intelligence and invention.
The Tree Of Knowledge
The full list