Singer-Songwriter Produces One of the Best Albums of the Year So Far
Imagine if, instead of being born to an Evangelical Christian family in Maryland, Father John Misty grew up in the UK, spending his formative years smoking rollies outside the local Wetherspoons. With Scott Lavene, we have something similar to what we’d expect. On the basis of his debut album ‘Broke’, we’re witnessing the arrival of a promising talent with a gift for language.
On opener ‘My Stereo’, Lavene shuns everything but music, “turning on my stereo”. While turning your back on everything in favour of tunes isn’t exactly recommended, it does convey across Lavene’s love for music, something that shines through in the album.
There’s something of Durys Ian and Baxter here; oft compared to Stiff Records alumni, the elder Dury and Elvis Costello among them, there’s an element of funkiness apparent on a few tracks. ‘Apples And Pears’ is a standout that echoes Dury’s seminal classic ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’.
Moreover, it’s resolutely British in such a way that, Sleaford Mods aside, artists don’t really go for at the moment. On ‘Broke’, the urge to shout ‘parklife’ after every one of Lavene’s lines proved testing. “Get completely arseholed” is the sort of thing we’re dealing with here – uniquely British, and it suits Lavene’s melodic sprechgesang down to a T.
The slight issue is that we finish the album not entirely sure of who Scott Lavene actually is. From one song to the next, he adopts a slightly different style. At various times he is reminiscent of Mike Skinner, Father John Misty, Ian Dury and even Fontaines D.C. frontman Grian Chatten. Having said that though, it’s an enjoyable listen that doesn’t get boring. We aren’t exactly short of male singer-songwriter types on these shores, but Lavene is a welcome departure from the type of BRIT award darlings that dominate the upper echelons of the music chart. Overall, an impressive debut.