« HAPPY SOUP» (REGAL/EMI)
The new album from English singer Baxter Dury opens up a window onto an eighties pop universe teeming with quasi-autobiographical anecdotes that manage to be both light-hearted and profound. Truly marvellous from start to finish.
British pop singer Baxter Dury was born in Wingrave on 18 December 1971.
Distancing himself from his legendary rocker father from the outset, he opted for darker, folk-tinged hues.
Baxter is the son of the late Ian Dury, a cult figure in English rock from the seventies and eighties. At the age of 30, he kicked off his singing career with the debut album Len Parrott’s Memorial Lift (2003). Declining to follow directly in his father’s punk-funk footsteps, Dury leaned instead towards pop-folk. On the songwriting side, his collaborators were Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley (Portishead), and Richard Hawley (Pulp).
Floor Show, the 2005 follow-up, is full of melancholy songs revolving around choruses, discreet electric guitars, acoustic guitars and often piano, with Dury’s delicate voice remaining the dominant feature. The result is an album of songs that are subdued yet bewitching – pop arrangements that elegantly incorporate swirling psychedelia and cascading strings. Distinctive and forthright, as befits the impeccable pedigrees of Utley, Hawley et al, these clever arrangements proved the perfect vehicle for the album’s dazzling melodies and the unsettling vocal talents of Baxter Dury. Proof positive that the art of subtle songwriting is alive and well and as captivating as ever.
Dury’s growing army of admirers were to wait a further 6 years before he re-entered the studio. Luckily, Happy Soup, released in mid-August 2011, is Baxter Dury at his most scintillating.