This is a CD I have been keenly awaiting for a few weeks now, ever since I found out of it’s existence and that it was almost complete (thanks to the Tundraducks Records mailing list) and some quick e-mail exchanges with Augustus and then Max himself, I was the proud owner of “Disaffection” by Max Eider (TDSKS003), his 4th solo album. You can find it here –
www.maxeider.com/ – along with loads of other Max info and links.
A Max Eider CD is always a welcome addition to my collection having been a big Jazz Butcher fan (www.jazzbutcher.com) since their early days on Glass Records. Back in those days Pat Fish and Max with an assortment of extremely talented friends (who at times included David J from Bauhaus and Rolo from The Woodentops among others), who comprised the Jazz Butcher had me hooked with some amazing singles like “Southern Mark Smith” and “Marnie” and an equally incredible album “A Scandal In Bohemia” that set the standard for a new kind of cool (artwork included – see below).
They had character, they had style, They made you laugh, they made you cry, but most of all they had the tunes, wonderful tunes, tunes that stick with you and help shape or maybe even twist and turn your life and somehow always leave a smile on your face.
They were the perfect blend of Jonathan Richman and the Velvet Underground in those early years, often doing covers of their songs like “Affection” and “Sweet Jane”, and even doing a version of “Roadrunner”. Unlike many bands they continued to improve with age (just like fine wine, which I fear they had some associaation with) and released many amazing albums for Creation Records, with my favourites being “Fishcotheque” and the unlikely “Waiting For The Love Bus” (which didn’t even get released over here).
The songs with razer sharp wit and plenty of insight, sung beautifully by Pat Fish with a sense of fascination with the absurd (elephants) and the sublime (drinking J) and propelled by the supreme guitar talents of the one and only Max Eider (at least in the early years till he moved on). Now the Jazz Butcher deserve a whole article about them ( there is a great interview here – www.caughtinthecarousel.com/interviews/jazzButcher.php ) or maybe even a book or a few movies (I know Pat is in the new Creation movie Upside Down, or so I am told as I have not seen it yet), and definitely more about Pat Fish, who also has some new songs available ( nowthatswhaticallnorthampton.com/), but for now I will turn my attention back to Max, who to me will always be a crucial part of the Jazz Butcher.
The new album kicks off beautifully with “Nice Guy” which soars with some mighty fine guitars to create a timeless POP classic. If you watch the video – [youtube]Z8Je9U7meMU[/youtube] you may even be able to learn how to play it if you have any talent (unlike me). He sings of contradiction and the decline of humankind as we spread our stain of bigotry, and it’s based on a true story that I’m sure Max wishes he could forget. It sets the tone of the album, that of disaffection and maybe a bit of anger at how we have so called evolved (a theme he returns to on “Evolution”). At first I thought he was singing about getting tired of being constantly reminded of The Jazz Butcher connection when he says “I don’t want to be the butcher” but it seems I got that wrong or at least I hope so, as I’m trying to get them back together, even if it’s only for one song, but I’ve said too much.
The second song “East End Boy” slows things down a bit but continues the beautiful guitars and the contradiction of how a song can sound so uplifting as he sings of poison, death and sorrow. The song reminds me of Terry Hall at his finest, even in the vocals, which I am hoping Max takes as a compliment as I truly love any of Terry Hall’s solo albums.
“Tooth And Claw” brings me back to Max’s first solo album “The Best Kisser In The World” and reminds me of some of the tracks from that album like “Bel Air Home” and “It Has To Be You”, which is a good thing as they were outstanding songs.
“The Black Dog” has a very dreamy, laid back feel, similar to the feel of a few of the early songs by the Church, which are among my favourites, like “To Be In Your Eyes” and “Almost With You”. It takes real talent to make slower songs and keep them exciting, and that’s something Max excels at. I am not the best at describing music and I think it’s probably best if you just give the music a listen, as each person gets something different from the experience. This is a brilliant album, a great experience and is just what the doctor ordered – Feeling Disaffection Has never Felt this good!
“People all over the world are looking for Affection” but maybe they should be looking for “Disaffection” by Max Eider.