If we lived in a just world, Peter Bruntnell
would by now be in the middle of his third or fourth global arena tour,
his biggest worry working out how to courier his latest armful of
Grammy awards back to the UK so his butler could have them installed in
the west wing of mansion by the time he got home. Instead, the Kingston
upon Thames-based, Devon-raised, New Zealand-born singer-songwriter
spent February playing a tour of venues that included the front room of a terraced house.
His new album, Nos Da Comrade, features lead single Mr Sunshine, a
rollicking deconstruction of a certain US presidential candidate and a
golf course that destroyed a Scottish fishing community. The ninth album
of an uncommonly excellent recording career, it will be released –
alas, all too fittingly – on April Fools’ Day.
The fools, of course, are the vast majority of the world’s listening
public, who have stubbornly refused to pay much attention to Bruntnell
since the release of his debut LP more than 20 years ago. Ringing
endorsements from the likes of REM’s Peter Buck and Son Volt’s Jay
Farrar have been matched by rave reviews (Guardian Music contributor
Keith Cameron, reviewing Bruntnell’s third LP in NME, memorably wrote
that “his songs should be taught in schools”). And the music really is
exceptional – a canon of classically constructed, melodically rich,
lyrically ingenious and emotionally, intellectually affecting songs that
bears comparison with the all-time greats. Yet there appears to be
almost nobody listening.
This guy makes really good records and his latest is a fine pop album with only one lack of strength (imho): The production is a little bit too clean. Maybe Peter Buck should have done the production for a more raw sound? However great songs and a fine album.