Keith TOTP and his Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star Backing Band – TOTP 2 (Corporate Records)
CD / DL
Making music that is both humourous and good is a skill. Does Keith TOTP pull it off on his second album?
It’s a lengthy moniker, I’ll give you that. So, for the purposes of brevity, we’ll call him Keith TOTP.
Recorded in, apparently, a one day studio session, Keith TOTP’s second album serves up a slew of indie musicians as sidemen (and women) as sidekicks for the second album from our titular hero.
Opening with Morrissey Will Never Forgive Me sets the tone nicely; Marr-esque chiming guitar arpeggios bookend Keith’s lovelorn lyric about his adult self disappointing Moz due to his love of booze, meat and ladies. Dropping choice Smiths quotes into the song is a smart touch and there’s a real pathos amongst the tongue-in-cheek japery.
#Propermusic takes a selection of ludicrous actual tweets from the titular twitter site, spoken by Sarah Nixey, Jo Bevan and Julia Indelicate and drops them into a guitar-driven rocker; the chorus of “proper music, proper fuckin’ music, played by men on guitars made of wood” is hugely grin-inducing and my favourite song on the album. It might be ironic – I don’t mind, it’s a cracking bit of writing and Keith certainly seems to knows his way around a catchy tune
Another highlight is You Wish You Were In My Band which, as the title suggests, is a paean to the life on the road of a low-level indie group. “Eleven in a family room and twelve in the van” will be familiar to anyone who’s ever dragged their sorry arse across the byways of our fine nation in pursuit of the rock.
It’s not all jollity; Stupid Rules For Stupid People is a bittersweet, angsty beast that has a nagging, anxious quality that instils itself in your grey matter quickly and sets up squatters rights.
There’s a difficulty, I guess, in being jokey and novelty but at the same time being this good; the album swells with some top class songwriting but the fun-factor is never far away, making somewhat light of some of Keith’s more “serious” material.
In this day and age, trying to be heard amongst the ever-increasing morass of bands out there, everyone needs to have something to help them stand out; Keith TOTP and friends resort to a light-hearted if not lightweight approach to make themselves heard. It works, certainly; I’m writing this and you’re reading it. I wondered much the same in a live review of Dirtbox Disco. There’s some real quality that’s a trifle overshadowed by the tomfoolery.
The more personal songs, such as I’m Alone, You’re Alone, Lets Be Alone Together could easily stand alone they’re so engaging. Thankfully, they work in the context of the album given the ever-so slightly bitter theme of the album despite the humour.
His first album, Fuck You, I’m Keith Top Of The Pops, received a groundswell of support from press and fans alike. TOTP2 builds on that, his trademark humour shining on amongst the classy songwriting.
All words by Joe Whyte. You can read more from Joe on LTW here.