Note to society, and specifically anyone that plans on doing a phone interview: don’t record phone calls on dodgy call-recording apps.
Having got up surprisingly early for an interview over the old dog-and-bone with the man himself, and having prepared far too much for what would turn out to just be a chilled natter, I decided that I’d download a phone call-recording app to capture the humble banter that I was expecting. I even tested the bastard thing out, twice. But of course, something dodgy happened halfway through the call – some kind of digital glitchcraft – and when I checked the app afterwards, the recording had vanished, cackling at me from its dematerialised state. So please forgive me if this article is a bit vague; I’ll at least try and say a bit about his tour and him as an artist.
Beans had just returned from the US, where he had been touring and writing with a band called Truckstop Honeymoon. Despite still suffering from jet-lag, he seemed enthusiastic about the country, wasting no time telling me of his escapades there. I wondered aloud how the crowds across the Atlantic received his distinctly British sarcasm and political-folk charm, but it seems they were very much into it: Beans mused that a reciprocal desire to get pissed is basically half of what you need to connect with an audience. He spoke a lot of how he actively incorporated his experiences with American crowds and American culture into his songs, but that he was pleased to be back in Britain. One can only wonder whether his live shows might be any different as a result.
if you fancy a rant at the System with a pint of Stella in hand, this will be unmissable
His new album, Rolling Up the Hill, is out on the 1st December. From it, his first single The Great American Novel is a classic piece of singalong storytelling, set to a vaguely bluegrass backdrop and cramming as many references to the US as possible. Judging from he second single, I’m Home When You Hold Me, the entire album might actually be influenced by his experience – again, it feels twangy and swung in a typical hill-billy design. It’s a style that fits perfectly with his laid back approach to playing, and the jump from chilled out British folk-punk to country-bluegrass raconteur seems an obvious leap to make, and one that will undoubtedly place this new album as one of his most interesting works.
However, for fans of Beans On Toast, I really wouldn’t worry that this album is any kind of stylistic deviation (as if Beans On Toast fans care about about stylistic deviation; I certainly don’t…) from his previous stuff. He’s fundamentally out there to bang out a few songs, fire some opinions at the world, and entertain. Three chords is all he needs for that. I asked him whether he thought he’d developed as an artist at all since his first album, and his answer was fantastic: “No, I try to stay the same as much as I can” (or something to that effect). If anything, this approach is refreshing and reassuring, and apart from the slight American tinge on Rolling Up the Hill, I’d agree: his tongue-in-cheek demeanour is as timeless as three chords and an acoustic guitar.
Anyway, down to the real point of this article; Beans On Toast is playing in Plymouth on 28 November, and if you fancy a rant at the System with a pint of Stella in hand, this will be unmissable.