With 2017 proving to be quite the political shitshow, its conceivable that 9th album Cushty from Basildon-boy Beans on Toast was running before it had even learnt to crawl.
So, politics. Following last years opening track 2016, Open Door Policy takes the cynics view of current affairs. It feels like Armageddon is a stones throw away starts subtly before heading onto dark money and big data, the mass manipulation of the human race. It’s a definitive left-wing political view that feels more musically astute this time around.
And as to be expected, there are political themes running through Cushty like veins; a stab at fracking in Major Oak, a swipe at white supremacy (and Trump) in I Think Everybody Should Be Terrified and a left hook for far-right ideology in The House That Austerity Built. My favourite political swipe, however appears on The Ignorant Englishman, where Beans characteristic wordplay conjures the line It was a big, red lie on a big, red bus/ These fucking politicians are a right bunch of cunts. It’s so unapologetically Beans and nails the message astutely.
Second track Jamie and Lily offers something a little different and feels like the coming of age for Beans. Written about a pair of fans, this stands out as wholesome in a music industry severely lacking any of that. Likewise, The A303 professes love for wife Lizzy whilst driving on One of England’s finest roads; you’d be forgiven at this point for thinking Cushty was a misspelling of Mushy.
But this maturity is artfully interlaced with some classic Beans magic. Storytelling escapades like Taylor Swift draw heavily from previous work like The Great American Novel; perhaps the most stereotypical Beans On Toast there is.
In all, this feels like an artist who has found his comfort zone. The band adds a lot to the experience, the values aren’t lost and the humour is all intact. Hardened fans will appreciate the Beans manner and new listeners will find some of the softer veins make this album an easier entry point than some of those before.
Cushty is available from all major music providers on Friday December 1st.