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The Voluntary Butler Scheme at Breakfast, Dinner, Tea

The Voluntary Butler Scheme at Breakfast, Dinner, Tea

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

THE Voluntary Butler Scheme’s At Breakfast, Dinner, Tea is another contender for feelgood record of the year.

Composed by one-man-band Rob Jones, the LP offers a deliriously upbeat mix of Badly Drawn Boy and Brian Wilson’s more acid-fried work with some Jackson 5 and Beatles thrown in for good measure too.

But as the artist explains himself, it’s all part of the process…

“I love loads of classic production sounds, but then I’m trying to be disrespectful to it somehow,” he says. “You know Money Mark? He’s got so many classic elements in there, those great Stevie Wonder keyboard sounds, but he messes around with them, disrespects them – that’s the approach I love.”

You’ll love it too. From the opening salvo of Breakfast through to the closing refrains of Sleeping On Top of Things this is a musical tour-de-force that thrives on its lively mix of classic sound, vivid imagination and tin-pot ingenuity.

Take former single Tabasco Sole, one of the feel-good stand-alones of the year, for the way it effortlessly blends Jackson 5 and Motown with DIY pop sensibilities and an infectious nature that’s difficult to surpass. It’s pure pop Viagra.

Incredibly, it sits alongside many such moments on an LP that is brimming with imagination and positivity.

Laundry, for instance, is a glorious head-trip through Beach Boys happiness, while The Eiffel Tower & The BT Tower is a horn-laced, fresh-faced blast of energy that puts a smile on the face and refuses to let it go.

Trading Things In, meanwhile, trades hand-clap beats with cute guitar licks and smart lyrics (“if you were broccoli I’d turn vegetarian for you”), before exploding into life with a mouth-organ laced chorus. It’s steeped in classic values, but is contemporary enough to be relevant now… and essential listening.

Trust us, Jones barely puts a foot wrong, whether coming over all quirky for Alarm Clock, forcing you to get down with the Motown shuffle of Multiplayer, charming the pants off you with the simple piano chords of Until My Watch Runs Out of Battery, or melting your heart with the gentle simplicity of Hot Air Balloon Heart… a rare moment when he slows the pace.

Split, meanwhile, drops loopy beats and tempo changes like they were going out of fashion and endears once again, while Night Driver eases things to a close with a beautifully intoxicating mix of piano and enchanting lyricism. When Rob sings: “I’m having the time of my life”, you’ll be inclined to agree.

In fact, so much so that you really won’t want this particular album to come to an end.

Download picks: Tabasco Soul, Trading Things In, The Eiffel Tower & The BT Tower, Laundry, Hot Air Balloon Heart, Night Driver

Track listing:

  1. Breakfast
  2. Trading Things In
  3. Alarm Clock
  4. Multiplayer
  5. Until My Watch Runs of Battery
  6. The Eiffel Tower & The BT Tower
  7. Dancing With Ted Danson
  8. Tabasco Sole
  9. Laundry
  10. Hot Air Balloon Heart
  11. Split
  12. Turn Country Lanes Into Motorways
  13. Night Driver
  14. Sleeping On Top Of Things