Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer – There’s A Rumpus Going On
|Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer -|
There's a Rumpus Going On
Release Date: Out Now
For the last week or so I’ve been waiting for this album to come my way, I just didn’t know it. With the world in a downward spiral at the end of a truly horrible annus I was searching for something to lift the spirits, something to defug my existence and along came this little beauty. For those that aren’t already acquainted with Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer you’re in for a real treat – just imagine Terry Thomas blending Hip-Hop, Bigbeat and the Banjo and you’re only half-way there.
Opening with some swirling, slightly disorientating electro squelches, Mr B samples the white noise of politicians expertly not answering questions and introduces the album on the aptly named ‘There’s A Rumpus Going On’ which taps in to a general feeling of disgruntlement and miffedness. Or chap hero hits his stride on track 2, however, as the lengthily titled ‘So Many Reggie Perrins in the Arse End of Space’ gets the Banjo working full effect and makes a thoroughly danceable tune out of the lyrical matter of the world being full of suicidal middle managers. ‘No Character to Clear’ speaks to that common modern disease of worrying too much about enjoying life rather than actually just getting on with living. It is, however, the genius of ‘Hitler Gifs’ that shows off the sheer brilliance of a chap such as Mr B. Wonky piano, the sound FX from an early arcade game and a shuffled beat create a bed for our hero to rap, in the Queen’s English, about his preference for ignoring tendencies towards rage and taking time to absorb hilarious GIFs of Adolf Hitler. Mental but brilliant.
|Mr B - Pantaloonie|
Musically, ‘Ollie and Stan’ is probably my favourite track on the album as it brings back memories of Bentley Rhythm Ace and Lemon Jelly at their best while we hear of Mr B’s love for Laurel and Hardy. Meanwhile, ‘Sell Drugs in The Proper Manner’ is a two-minute comedic blast at the establishment who police the selling and consumption of drugs which causes the death of customer service. The piece de résistance sits in the middle as we hear ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ sampled as a lead in to rant at Kanye West played out via a conversation with West’s parents with Mr B taking the part of a disgruntled Head Teacher. The utter joyous romp of ‘National Trust’ is an ode to Britain’s network of country estates while ‘Still Can’t Play the Trombone’ lets us all know that we are all great at something, even if that isn’t playing a brass instrument. The kid’s TV theme inspired ‘Last of the Unknown International Flâneurs’ extols the virtues of sauntering through the world’s great cities delivered through a clipped English twang and a sense of reverie.
‘The Happy Song’ and ‘Boredom’ do what they say on the tin set to the jauntiest of big beat Banjo romps and ‘The Secret Ingredient’ is a woozy summery Banjo lead romp that steers this album towards its ultimate inevitable conclusion. ‘Youth, Truth, Gin and Vermouth’ is a nostalgic look back at life from a man who’s created, lived life and enjoyed the full range of experiences and taken note of them all in readiness for such a song. It’s hard to sum up an album as timely and welcome as this but in an era of soundbites, brevity and simply not thinking things through (I’m looking at you Brexiteers and Trumpites) it is a real (gin and) tonic to listen to a collection of fourteen songs chock full of wit, wisdom and articulacy. Edutainment in its purest form, then.
More information: https://www.facebook.com/gentlemanrhymer
18th November – Madness House of Fun Weekender, Minehead w/Madness
1st December – Junction, Cambridge
2nd December – Milton Keynes
9th December – The Islington, London
10th December – Old Joint Stock, Birmingham
13th December – Moth Club, Hackney
17th December – Cluny 2, Newcastle
18th December – Gulliver’s, Manchester
23rd December – The Venue, Torquay