Tuesday 17 April 2012

The Just Joans - Buckfast Bottles In The Rain

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com

A fair few people will be familiar with The Just Joans already as most of the songs on this debut album have been around in various forms for several years, but for those new to the them, they're based in Glasgow and this is a point they like to make unbelievably clear. If calling an album 'Buckfast Bottles In The Rain' didn't give it away, they named themselves after the agony aunt in The Daily Record and this album is littered with regional references and clichés to the point where it becomes a bit much. I'm not sure a Scottish, indie version of The Wurzels was on anyone's wish list, but there's a definite tang of novelty hanging over many of these songs.

The first half of the record documents the last year of school, the second half covers university and beyond. It's a shame that sometimes the imagination used here doesn't go beyond nicking traffic cones and waking up next to girls whose names you can't remember. The lyrics could have come from a Rab C. Nesbitt script: "sitting on the living room floor, talking about shagging and the football score" or "I spent most of my loan in the first two weeks on cans of Tennent's lager". It's almost a checklist of stereotypes: "been playing pool and drinking Irn Bru down The Miner's all summer long". The line "taking Britpop posters from my wall all summer long" is telling, as this album borrows lyrics and melody from bands including Menswear ('Lookin' Like Rain'), Sleeper ('What Do We Do Now') and forerunners The Wonderstuff ('Friday Afternoons').

You can play spot the pilfered tune loads on this album. 'East Kilbride (All Summer Long') uses a whole section of The Beach Boys' 'I Get Along' and, far more dubiously, 'Coia's Empty' takes part of Russ Abbott's 'Atmosphere', while 'Please Don't Talk To Me' pinches both the theme to Steptoe & Son and folk standard 'Show Me The Way To Go Home'. 'Buckfast Bottles In The Rain' isn't bereft of merit and is a fairly decent listen but if they dropped the clichés and tired imagery they could be on to a winner. Unfortunately though, in their current form The Just Joans are offering little that hasn't been done before, and better, by countless other DIY indie bands.

Free download: 'Friday Afternoons (Down The Union)'

The Just Joans' website

Buy the album

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