One shouldn’t start with a negative when writing about a fine piece of work, but the saddest point to make about Scumbag Philosopher is that if John Peel were still alive, they would be on constant rotation on his show. For this Norfolk act are anarchic, witty, punky and – at their best – downright catchy.
The record begins with an anthem that would be appreciated by anyone who has worked in a large organisation. ‘Tickbox Exercise’ is a cracking song too; with Grant Madden’s cynical vocals defying appraisal systems (“You want me to strive to be better but don’t follow your own letter”) backed up by drummer Anne Reekie’s high-pitched response, whilst the guitars and rhythms create a tight Gang Of Four-style framework.
Each song appears to have a target. ‘Heroes At Home’ debunks celebrity culture, the incredibly infectious ‘Social Networking Site’ throws scorn on the likes of Facebook (“Add me but I’m in the same room. Friend me, but I’m sat next to you”) and ‘God Is Dead So I Listen To Radiohead’ speaks for itself.
The quartet are angry and satirical but also back up their songs with compelling riffs and vocal hooks. It would be rather ironic if their addictive qualities were matched by extended airplay but it’s important that provocative music like this exists.
Wire, Gang Of Four, The Fall