Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Voluntary Butler Scheme

Some more good new stuff now. Despite the oddly grand name, The Voluntary Butler Scheme is really just only bloke - Rob Jones - from the unfashionable part of the West Midlands known as Stourbridge, which back in the early 90s was famous for Pop Will Eat Itself, The Wonder Stuff and Neds Atomic Dustbin. But don't worry if you've lost your old German army jacket and DMs with purple laces, because Jones ain't no grebo. VBS trade in an altogether sunnier pop music, made all the more impressive from the fact that Rob does it all himself. It's perhaps not astounding that he can play various parts into a recording device, but what happens when you have to do it live? It's one man band time.

He's got a single out. It's called Trading Things In and it's a fine thing. The title track sports a riff that sounds like all these songs that take a cue from Brimful of Asha, but we're not talking lame copyists here. It's a sprightly little thing, with a huge singalong chorus and more than a little crossover appeal. Even better is is the b-side The Eiffel Tower and the BT Tower, with its cheeky horn parping and ever cheekier lyrics and it's one of the best straight-up pop tunes I've heard in ages. By the time he takes the pace down a bit for third track Hot Air Balloon Heart, and adds some country-style twanging, we already know that he's a major new talent - someone with a sharp ear for a great pop tune, a silly and irreverent way with a lyric, some good ideas about how to make things a bit more interesting and a sense of fun in what he's doing. How many new artists can we genuinely say that about right now?

mp3: The Voluntary Butler Scheme - The Eiffel Tower and the BT Tower
mp3: The Voluntary Butler Scheme - Turn Country Lanes Into Motorways (live on Xfm)
mp3: The Voluntary Butler Scheme - Trading Things In (live on Xfm)

The first track is from the single and the other two are for a session Rob did for John Kennedy on Xfm last month, including a brand new track. All good. I would recommend that you can buy his (download only) Trading Things In EP but it's not available from emusic, and I'm not sure where else people do the legal download thing these days. iTunes I suppose.


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Thanks definitely one of my favorite bands of the past decade, I wonder why they didn't release another album this year.

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