Beans on Toast – Giving Everything

Giving EverythingAs a present to himself and the world, Beans on Toast will be releasing his customary annual album, on his birthday the 1st December 2013 via Xtra Mile Recordings. Giving Everything is his fifth album in as many years; an impressive output by anyone’s standards. The album was recorded in the Toybox studios in Bristol, but produced by Mike Freear from Slamboree; not an obvious choice for a folk record, but a very worthy one.

There is nothing fancy here. Three-chord folk songs monopolize the album, but folk is not a genre that benefits from complications. Giving Everything covers well-worn leftwing and environmentalist issues regarding the greed and evils of capitalism, which is nothing we’ve not heard many times before. However, there is a great value in Jay’s song writing, when it’s focused on the minutia of daily life in Britain today. As he says himself, he “sees the poetry in the simple things”. Every track is blessed with nuggets of wit and charm, as he “understands the best things in life, are not things at all.

Beans on Toast would be the first to advise that this is not an album that takes itself too seriously, as neither does he. The album is not without controversy, beginning by describing Prince Harry assassinating his brother and sister-in-law while she’s in labour. Often verses don’t rhyme, which abruptly dislocates the flow of songs; however, a raised eyebrow and a guilty chortle spluttered out after: “At least we’ve got the internet to form our own opinions, till someone you’ve never met decides to outlaw wanking.”

Ultimately what carries the album is Jay and Beans on Toast's amicable, witty and self-depreciating personality, when he laments on “Can’t Get a Gig at Glastonbury”, the listener is provoked into writing a strongly worded letter to the appropriate Somerset authorities. Many will find him easy to relate to, the jaunty “Post Bestival Festival Blues”, and “Charlie” will resonate with many in a similar vein to Kate Nash, who he has toured with previously. The highlight of the album is the final track, “Keep You”, which should be shortlisted for an Ivor Novello just on the basis of, “I need the memory of the trees and the sense of humour of the penguins.”

Essex born Beans on Toast, the self styled ‘drunk’ folk singer divides opinion, but he has his own style and something to say; I recommend you listen.

Release: 1st December 2013, Xtra Mile

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