Hear The Track Here
Bringing up the rear of this months list is Howard Billington, shorn of his usual Smoke It 'n' Die or other alter egos. The last solo work we heard was The Meaning Of Christmas (January 2011), a brilliant slice of HoBi mania and probably the first ever Christmas song that survived a mauling from yours truly. On a more serious note Howard Billington (and his other offshoots) has brightened up my life (and many others) since I first encountered him with He Stole My Girl (January 2010). Virtually everything I have heard from this musician/singer/songwriter/ whatEVAH has had that secret, quite magical, ingredient only he seems to be able to muster - fun. When this man states quite baldly that he makes 'happy music' better believe it.
**** eating grin time, whether you like it or not.
Mobile Circus is a track from the Welcome To Tomorrow album and highlights Howard's amazing knack of keeping you guessing. His music brings in every influence under the sun, often in the most unexpected way and it all - surprisingly enough - works. Take Mobile Circus, for example. A track that (I think) is a Howard rant about the digital world's suffocating hold on his life and is lyrically right up there with HoBi's best. For me that takes second place to what's going on musically in the track but ultimately it's hard to divorce one from the other.
Stylistically this is a real mish mash and - on the face of it - shouldn't work at all. The vocals are powered in such a way that it's a cross between hip hop rapping and punk spitting in your musical eye and that's about as good a description as you are going to get from me. What sets this apart however, and it's role in the track is small, is the kinda/sorta comedy music hall motif being played on the piano throughout the track. That little detail is pure Howard Billington and a classic example of why I value him so highly. As they say in the comics, don't get many of those in a pound...
Victor Meldrew on a Red Bull diet. Highly Recommended.