In the end, it will all come down to this….. “Trying to avoid mundane conversations with other humans.”

If you can relate to that, then Scott Lavene is your boy.

One of the MV lads reviewed his last one, but that was never going to be allowed after I’d seen him with Craig Finn a couple of months ago. Lavene was brilliant that night, with his acoustic and piano and a use of language like you’d never heard.

And the opener here on “Disneyland In Dagenham, “Paper Roses” sees Finn on the song essentially reprising what he does on his solo albums, and it hides some real sadness. That’s one of the most straight-ahead songs on the record because a lot of the rest follow a different path.

Now, you see, it is integral to my worldview that there are the type of people that are self-styled “characters”. These people should be avoided at all costs. They are another word beginning with “C”.

Then some people genuinely see the world differently. They make stunning music. Scott Lavene is in the second group. “Custard” or the astonishingly weird “Debbie” don’t get made any other way.

I’ll assume the latter is a lament on mental health issues. It will have you singing “Take the bread out of that, it’s not a toaster”, mind you (I speak from experiences here).

“The Horse And I” is like some dream that you could spend days analysing, but the title track is undoubtedly the working class nightmare. A quite stunning spoken word piece, and all you have left is dreaming. This is where “Sadly I’m Not Steve McQueen” comes in. He’d played it at the Craig Finn show, but with its disco beat here, it’s a different thing altogether.

And speaking of “different things” when he sings, as on “Julie Johnson” there’s a Nick Cave vibe, and on the tender ballad, “Little Bird” there’s something of Billy Bragg. It is a gorgeous tune.

Indeed, there’s so much going on in the later songs on the record, it shows a really different side to him, like on the pop of “Rats”, or the blues of “Keeping It Local” that “….Dagenham” is one of those records that a) 100 people could listen to and hear 100 different things, and b) you could listen to yourself 100 times and make 100 different notes.

What I do know is I too spend all my life trying to avoid mundane conversations with other humans, but more than that I love words, and I think I am capable of a turn of phrase now and again. I am a mere amateur compared to this. Sadly I’m not Scott Lavene. No one is. Just him, and believe me, “Disneyland In Dagenham” is no Mickey Mouse endeavour.

Rating 9/10

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