Pete Um

As You Were
Pete Um
As You Were

New album from sectionable Cambridge pop-surrealist Pete Um, a world unto himself but also a standard-bearer for the kind of heroic DIY befuddlement and unflinching self-analysis that Deep Freeze Mice, Mick Hobbs, Robert Storey and the Homosexuals minted. Um’s sprawling catalogue is a beast that can’t be tamed or reasoned with, but it’s endlessly rewarding: time and time again he nails that going-mad-in-the-potting-shed-ness that is the historic, and perhaps eternal, English condition – what it is, indeed, to be a little bit ‘Fucked In The Head’ (as the title of one of the songs here has it). Where so much contemporary stuff in this vein sounds hopelessly mannered and contrived and untouched by actual real-world experience of being on the outside of ANYTHING, As You Were sounds fully free and unforced, hopelessly alienated from the thing we call society and GLAD of it, and even at its most demented and disorderly your man sounds like he’s wrenching everything he possibly can out of his primitive keyboard-and-mic set-up cos it’s all he’s bloody well got, not cos he's self-consciously imposing limitations on himself. While the influence of 80s UK squat-whimsy looms large, we’re reminded too of the synth-fuelled early-noughts art-spazz of the The Soft Pink Truth and Safety Scissors, and, more than anything or one, R. Stevie Moore – unexpectedly powerful and unforgettable songs emerging unexpectedly out of awkward, enervating loops and the more obviously pranky vignettes. ‘The Director’ is my song of the year so far, NO WORD OF A LIE: a warped, wistful sequel to Patrick Selinger’s ‘Businessman’. And ‘Ed Sheeran' is a casual takedown of the wee guitar-slinging eunuch, sure, but it’s also a long hard truthful stare at the plight of a more marginal musician: “When I was a kiddie / I wanted to be a star / I play in local venues / I guess I didn’t get that far / I don’t want no fame / It ain’t strictly pleasure / but I still gotta do it…” YES PETE xxx

 

 

£14.99

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