Release Date: Oct 21, 2014
Record label: PIAS
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
There’s a couplet on Pleasure, the almost-title track of Baxter Dury’s new album, that’s not only the best lyric on the album but also among the very best lyrics likely to be heard from anyone all year: “Ferrero Rocher prostitutes / Primark debutants in boots”. This couplet – along with the bizarre cover art apparently comprising an image of Baxter emerging from a swimming pool next to a Photoshopped swan – encapsulates the record’s louche, chintzy aesthetic perfectly. As with all his lyrics, Baxter Dury delivers those words in a whispery Estuary voice that would remind the listener of his dad Ian even if one didn’t know they were blood relations.
His father's son through and through, Baxter Dury not only sounds a bit like his old man Ian, he is attracted to a similarly chintzy production that pushes attention away from the arrangements and to his words. This is especially true on 2014's It's a Pleasure, his fourth record in a decade and evidence that he's no longer concerned about whether audiences draw comparisons between him and his father anymore. Indeed, "Palm Trees" glides by on a bit of cod Euro-disco that can't help but recall Do It Yourself and much of It's a Pleasure follows suit, favoring tightly sequenced drum machines warmed by cooing female backing vocals.
It’s been three years since Dury’s debut ‘Happy Soup’. What made it such a charming record was his knack for wrapping kitchen-sink dramas in candyfloss, but that trait sparkles only intermittently on ‘It’s A Pleasure’. Standout single ‘Palm Trees’ proves Baxter’s eye for a slick electro-pop groove is as sharp as his father Ian’s was for a filthy couplet.
On Happy Soup, the peppy-monikered third outing from Baxter Dury, son of revered rock pioneer Ian Dury, Dury Jr. was about as happy as Victor Meldrew in Benidorm; that is, not very. He wore a stereotypical Englishman-in-the-rain kind of irked, proudly complaining about the mundane in his idiosynratic mumble-cum-drawl. Dreary as drizzle, his cantankery juxtaposed wonderfully with the lo-fi disco, ‘80s synthpop and indie-rock that backed it.