Not Signed In
| Email | Cart | Items
| Photography |
| Buy | Sell |
That Sentimental Slush
Favourite Album Reviews
“There’s no keeping up with the Bitter Springs/By the time that you’re ready we’ll be long gone” Bitter Springs’ front man Simon Rivers sings on ‘Gathering Dust’, a strings and accordion-laden shanty to personal freedom, and one of the tracks on his band’s sprawling fifth and latest album, ‘That Sentimental Slush’.
Indeed there is a lot of truth in that. Much of the immense charm of ‘That Sentimental Slush’, which the Bitter Springs self-released on their own Harvey Records in February, comes in its restlessness. Across its spirited 70 minutes, Rivers (vocals, guitar, piano) and his band mates Daniel Ashkenazy (bass, guitars, vocals), Paul McGrath (drums, accordion), Paul “Wizard” Baker (piano, organ, keyboards) and Phil Martin (violin) enthusiastically romp their way through 18 tracks in a variety of styles. 'That Sentimental Slush' incorporates everything from heart torn ballads to rollicking pub rock tunes, melancholic electro pieces to cod calypso numbers, and 60's Gallic-influenced duets to old-fashioned music hall songs as well as much else in between.
In Simon Rivers the Bitter Springs also have an especially erudite and witty lyricist, one who can capture a whole situation or character in a single line or phrase, and, who, like the late, great Ian Dury, while never afraid to lambast cruelty or petty stupidity, has a big-hearted empathy for other people and their eccentricities, frailties and failings.
'Attempted Life', the opening track, is a rumbustious drinking number which throws into its middle a warblingly cheesy organ solo. Its booze-soaked main character has had everything stacked against him from birth ("Mum died when I was one/I lived my life in reverse/I knew where I was going from the start"). Out-of-control alcoholism leads him into one terrible scrape after another.Rather than it being long gone, there never been has any hope for him in the first place. Yet, far from coming across as pathetic, he has his own kind of dignity and a refreshing lack of pretension ("Living with death is hard/but what else you got/I'd rather smell of booze than bullshit").
The thunderous pub rock juggernaut of 'Moving into City' matches its riotous guitars with a scraped violin, wonky piano and sing-a-long chorus and humorously twists the concept of going back to nature and escaping from the claustrophobia of the city into the country on its head ("Tired of making our own entertainment/Sick of all this clean air/We're moving to the city/Too much time to think down here"). Smoochy trumpet-led ballad 'The King and I' meanwhile tells of the last, desperate gasps of a relationship which its protagonist has taken for granted and its final collapse ("I've had the lot and I've blown it all/When you ride your luck you've got to fall sometimes/Better luck next time").
And those are just the first three tracks. Elsewhere on the mock calypso of 'Paedophile Island' Rivers turns his bile on the hysterical spite of the British gutter press ("Name them and shame them/Oh absolutely honey/and how do you make your money ?"), and on the crooned, slow pop of 'Thee Idiots Computing' rages against the twisted social consequences of the 21st century's over dependence on technology ("Muppets on their mobiles/Got to call you every hour/I was walking bored down Uxbridge Road/Did I get out of the shower ?/I'm grinning as the phone call ends/Hey look at me/Don't I have loads of friends ?").
'City of Glass' is an accordion-dominated 60's French-style pop number sung as a duet with guest singer Kim Ashford about architecture gone mad ("So where's the trees that made the paper that held the application/of the plans for demolition"). The broke protagonist on the echoing electronica of the poignant 'Beautiful Things' meanwhile has the bad luck to fall in love with someone who comes from a different financial class ("She said she needs/She needs beautiful things/All I've got offer is love/cheap love/and that's just not enough").
It ends, as it begins, with another drinking song 'Ice Cold Glass', a breezy and stomping sing-a-long old-time varsity number ("The poor man lives in hope/and the rich man lives in fear/I'd trade all my gold/for an ice cold glass of beer").
'That Sentimental Slush' is an exhilirating, exuberant bomb blast of an album, one which, despite its lengthy running time, brims over and bursts with ideas, and remains constantly innovative. In the time since they released 'That Sentimental Slush', the Bitter Springs, in what has been their busiest studio year since they formed in 1996, have gone on to release and record another two similarly-paced EPs, September's 'Firm Family Favourites' and November's 'Poor Trace'. While most bands a decade old have long exhausted themselves, the Bitter Springs continue to wield massive creative passion and energy. They are a totally encapsulating experience.
Commenting On: That Sentimental Slush - Bitter Springs
ie London, England
tick box before submitting comment
In the latest in our 'Re : View' series, in which we reassess albums which we feel deserve another look, John Clarkson examines the Bitter Springs' sprawling fifth and latest album, 'That Sentimental Slush'
John Clarkson speaks to Simon Rivers, the frontman with London-based cult group the Bitter Springs, about his band's new record, 'Cuttlefish and Love's Remains'
Band of Holy Joy:(With the Bitter Springs and Idiot Son), Macbeth, London, 9/1/2015
Dominic Simpson looks back on our first Bands' Nights of 2015, which at the Macbeth in London, saw sets from the Band of Holy Joy, the Bitter Springs and Idiot Son
Pennyblackmusic Bands Night:Macbeth, London, 8/1/2015
We profile our next Pennyblackmusic Bands' night which will take place at the Macbeth in London, and will include sets from the Band of Holy Joy, the Bitter Springs and Idiot Son
John Clarkson chats to Simon Rivers from underrated London indie rockers the Bitter Springs about his group's new double CD and first album in seven years, 'Everyone's Cup of Tea'
Bitter Springs:Bull and Gate, London, 7/1/2011
Neil Palmer sees the often under rated Bitter Springs play a shortened, but life affirming set of their unique brand of indie rock at the Bull and Gate in London
Cuttlefish and Love's Remains - CD
Challenging but thought-provoking and highly rewarding eighth album from West London-based band, the Bitter Springs
Gary Glitter Fan Club Convention - 7"
Brilliantly downbeat fourth single from their forthcoming new album for consistently undervalued London-based band, the Bitter Springs
TV Tears - CDS
Clever and eloquent dissection of reality TV on infectious download only single from the Bitter Springs
My Life as a Dog in a Pigsty - CDS
Gritty and wryly humorous latest download single from constantly undervalued West London act Bitter Springs
And Even Now - CDS
Electrifying first single in three years from versatile West London-based act, the Bitter Springs, which consists of five different versions of the same song
Top Articles (Current Magazine)
Deerstock Festival Newton, Nottinghamshire, 22/7/2016...24/7/2016
Zoe Howe Interview
Orphan Boy Spiders Web, Grimsby, 23/7/2016
Judy Collins Interview
Aerosmith Interview with Brad Whitford
Miranda Lee Richards Interview
Condemned to Rock 'n' Roll August 2016
Cult of Dom Keller Interview
Janis Ian Interview
How Times Change Vinyl Stories
Punk 1976-78 - British Library Profile
Sid and Nancy Film
Top Articles (Other - This Month)
Peter, Paul and Mary Interview with Peter Yarrow
Re : View-Penetration Moving Targets
Jimmy Nail Interview
In Isolation Chameleon, Nottingham, 9/4/2016
Bobby Rydell Raging Pages
Lorraine Wood Interview
Obituary of a Band The Honolulu Mountain Daffodils
Frankie Goes to Hollywood Interview with Paul Rutherford
Profile Royal Trux
Claudia Brucken Interview
Jon Hassell City: Works of Fiction
Mighty Roars Archway, London, 20/10/2004
Barrie Barlow Interview
Top Reviews (Current Magazine)
Marsheaux Ath.Lon CD (Undo Records)
Hattie Briggs Young Runaway CD (Wise Dog Records)
Monochrome Set Cosmonaut CD (Tapete Records)
Robert Rotifer Not Your Door CD (Gare du Nord Records)
Amber Herd In Cascade CDS (Herdwerks)
Gregg Allman No Stranger to the Dark: The Best of Gregg Allman CD (Floating World)
Urusei Yatsura You Are My Urusei Yatsura LP (Rocket Girl)
Lisa Redford Another Place and Time CDS (Parrot Records)
Luck of Eden Hall The End of the Lane/Blown to Kingdom Come 7" (Mega Dodo)
Tom Lockett Feeling Bad CDS (Magic Cactus)
Top Reviews (Other - This Month)
Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus Beauty Will Save the World LP (Occultation Recordings)
Songs Ohia The Lioness CD (Secretly Canadian)
Wooden Shjips Vol 1 CD (Holy Mountain)
Lizzie Nunnery and Vidar Norheim Black Hound Howling CD (Redthread)
JJ72 She's Gone/heat 7" (Lakota)
Jack Pioneer Soundtracks CD (Spinney Records)
Joe Walsh Analog Man CD (Decca)
Jumbo Jumbo CD (Cargo)
Hermit Crabs Correspondence Course EP CDS (Matinee Recordings)
Hermit Crabs Time Relentless EP CDS (Matinee Recordings)