Beans On Toast – Fishing For A Thank You (Xtra Mile Recordings)
CD / DL / LP
Beans On Toast released his fourth album at the tale end of 2012. As he’s just embarked on a pretty big tour we thought that the time was right for a belated review of it.
Those who gave a small cheer when John Cooper Clarke appeared back on our screens a couple of times recently will understand this. here are people in this country who we will point at using the term “National Treasure”. Half the population haven’t got a clue who a lot of these people might be, but the other half, usually the ones that care about what they see and listen to, wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t have certain artists pop up into our lives every now and then to remind us what pure class and natural talent is.
“Beans on Toast” might be a strange name for an act but “Beans on Toast” it is and “Beans on Toast” we are now used to.
His real name is Jay.
He’s from Essex (hurrah!)
And he’s been tuning up at festivals for years, not only as an artist, but as a litter picker and when he performed in front of hundreds at last Summers Bestival and still managed to get in a dig at those who “left the odd can on the wall whilst waiting for the ferry” it immediately separated him from those happy to tell their audiences how much they love them (even though they don’t know 90 % of the people they play to) from those who have something to actually say to those in attendance.
Jay appears to be a decent chap (I don’t know him, his butler wouldn’t let me through the door when I tried to meet him).
His songs are ace too.
We already have a generation of people in this country who will have something interesting to say about this artist. Whether it’s the time when he turned up to do a 13 minute set at Wembley arena supporting Frank Turner in front of an almost full house (search for it on YouTube), to the night he played for four hours in the middle of the night, a little worse for wear, formed a band from people in attendance, sacked the band one by one and formed another band before our very eyes, or simply just turned up in someone’s local and turned a standard, run of the mill night out into a rip roaring night to remember.
This album is full of honest, humorous, sarcastic and heart warming subjects such as Religion, Earthquakes, Drugs, Latvia, Wetherspoons, Capitalism and lying around in bed. There are numerous times the listener will chuckle at what Jay is saying and there will be times when you say to yourself “Why isn’t everyone writing songs about all this stuff”.
He proves that things such as learning how to consume illegal substances behind the school bike shed, capitalism, starting a revolution and bringing the world together to unite against things that are bad, can be brought up in a tune without sounding rubbish.
“They fucked it up they got it wrong so its a really good time for protest song”, he sings in “Protest song” before mentioning that he’d like you all to buy some CDs off him so he can eat every day, and he knows that a protest song can (and should) be capable of allowing the listener to have a little smile at the same time.
These are good songs, made simple with rough edges and sparse in instrumentation that the listener warms to immediately. This is an artist who would shine if placed in a garden shed with only a cassette recorder, guitar and a copy of the Daily Mail.
If you’re one of the elder generation that witnessed Billy Bragg or the aforementioned John Cooper Clark (and maybe even Mark E Smith) in their younger days and realised early on that these are people who deserve our attention, that we can’t afford to let disappear, then Beans on Toast is probably today’s equivalent.
Jay doesn’t appear to be an artist who is one day about to stop doing this and start a new career in architecture or embroidery. We imagine that in thirty years time there’ll be a generation of oldies scrambling their way towards stages to continue watching this man with a crap guitar, ripped jeans and friendly smile picking out a few favourites from a back catalogue of hundreds (as well as peddling out the latest of what will then probably be his 20th album of friendly, happy, observational protest songs, no doubt).
One can hope that sooner or later the masses will listen to people like Jay and instead of writing or dancing to songs about predicting riots may actually start caring about and writing about the actual causes of them. This album will one another one of many.
Go and see Beans on Toast and get this album- it’s ace.
- 25/09 Edinburgh / Voodoo Rooms
- 26/09 Newcastle / Think Tank
- 27/09 Carlisle / The Brickyard
- 28/09 Leeds / The Wardrobe
- 29/09 York / Fibbers
- 30/09 Hull / Fruit
- 02/10 Hebden Bridge / The Trades Club
- 03/10 Manchester / Night & Day Cafe
- 04/10 Chester / Compass
- 05/10 Liverpool / Mellomello
- 06/10 Wakefield / The Hop
- 10/10 Coventry / Taylor Johns
- 11/10 Birmingham / The Rainbow
- 12/10 Derby / The Victoria Inn
- 14/10 Cardiff / Clwb Ifor Bach
- 15/10 Bristol / Lousiana
- 17/10 Salisbury / The Music Box
- 18/10 Plymouth / The White Rabbit
- 19/10 Exeter / Phoenix
- 20/10 Poole / Mr Kyps
- 23/10 Southampton / Joiners
- 24/10 Winchester / Railway
- 25/10 Brighton / Stickymikesfrogbar
- 27/10 Leicester / Cookie Jar
- 28/10 Nottingham / Bodega
- 29/10 Cambridge / Portland Arms
- 30/10 Oxford / Bullingdon
- 31/10 St Albans / The Horn
- 01/11 Swindon / The Victoria
- 02/11 Deal / The Lighthouse
- 05/11 London / The 100 Club