Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Lord Cut-Glass – Look After Your Wife

Long-overdue return of the male vocalist from The Best Band In The World Ever…


Chuck Eddy: After my initial disappointment that Lord Cut-Glass is not the calypso poet his name suggests, I decided I really don’t mind his brogue, at least when he stays in jiggy uptempo music hall mode. It’s the useless show-tune slowdowns and fancy-pants filigrees I can’t stomach, and the minute-plus worth of Salvation Army band noodling at the end. Also, while I’m sure he’s providing me a marital lesson, I have no clue what any specifics are. He doesn’t want me to be a “Polly man”? What the hell is that?

Martin Skidmore: The supercilious lyrics only intermittently rhyme – I guess it was too much work if you have to include words like “polymath”.

Martin Kavka: To have a chamber-pop song about adultery is to have a slight clash of tonalities. Usually, this would make a song better. That’s not true in this case, though. The lyric affects a lecturing-hectoring tone, and gives an unrealistic view of marriage as a prison. (“Be a lover and companion as well/If she’s a hell-bat, a free-thinker, or an all-time bad drinker”? Really? Whatever for?) Add to this the sense that the narrator is taking a bit of glee in his friend’s marital strife, and the whole song appears to have landed in iTunes via time-travel from the eighteenth century, written by one of those vicars ridiculed in Jane Austen novels. Who needs this crap? Who would want it, besides right-wing Anglicans?

Edward Okulicz: Perhaps I’m guilty of boxing Alun Woodward into a tiny space defined by what I think he should be doing, but surely that thing is epic, grandiose, swelling masterpieces about death and doom and being miserable, rather than… jaunty folk songs? By the end of The Delgados’ lifespan, he was putting out more great songs per record than Emma, but it seems doubtful his solo record will be as good as hers on the basis of this.

Michaelangelo Matos: I never got the Delgados, but this is fairly pleasant, and I sort of liked the extended coda.

Anthony Easton: Muddy, with an overlong coda, and it does seem to be 8 minutes instead of a little over 3.

Anthony Miccio: If Graham Nash and the Decemberists got together over a case of vodka they still wouldn’t come up with a lyric so pandering or an instrumental coda so interminable. This sloppy-yet-synthetic whimsy, which isn’t worthy of a video game for pre-schoolers, could only get worse if it was longer.

Matt Cibula: You, sir, are no Martin Newell. Forced myself to get all the way through it but it made me feel a little sick to my stomach. I’m afraid I will be wrecking the curve by giving it such a high grade but I’m overcompensating for my natural hate of neo-Victorian whimsy.

Ian Mathers: Not only do I quite like this, but I feel obscurely protective of it… the Delgados never got their due when they were around, and as much as I find Alun’s solo effort charming both in terms of its sardonic lyrics and its lilting melody, I can imagine it getting hated or, worse, ignored at the Jukebox. But that ending section of sighing backing vocals (including, if I’m not mistaken, Emma from the Delgados) is so lovely – maybe I’m just getting paranoid.

Iain Mew: Between this and “Big Time Teddy”, Alun Woodward is clearly at his best as Lord Cut-Glass when doing sarcastic skiffle. There’s a fantastic energy and relish to its insults that strikes through the layers of pretty wrapping that wisp across. The taunting finale then fuses the two sides seamlessly before bringing in Emma Pollock, which is verging on unfair.

W.B. Swygart: OK, so giving a three-and-a-half-minute single a minute-and-a-half long outro chunk is a slightly dubious choice (though I quite like that bit), and the “all-time bad drinker” bit is rather clunky, and I can’t actually remember if Alun Woodward is even married or not, but that’s rather missing the point, which is that, before this blurb, a song by a former member of The Delgados was getting an average score under five.

Not on my watch.

7 Responses to “Lord Cut-Glass – Look After Your Wife”

  1. Note that, if I were being completely honest, this song would have got a 7. Former members of The Delgados are a one-off exception to my usual policy of being completely honest, however, especially if their singles are on course to get lower average scores than, say, Just Jack.

  2. I was totally curious about the Delgados – due to your long-time enthusiasm – until I looked up “Lord Cut-Glass” on wikipedia. Now I’m not so sure.

  3. “Not on my watch.


  4. Just a quick note that the Decemberists comparison almost made it into mine too, albeit as an opposite indicator (and I would strictly be talking earlie stuff therefore)

  5. Swygart, your gambit: Shameless. Admirable. Wrong-headed. Hilarious.

  6. This is totally cheating. I completely approve, obviously.

    Anthony, I wasn’t a big Delgados fan, but try ‘Pull The Wires From The Wall’, which I thought was completely wonderful.

  7. Hmm, I’m surprised to note that most of the really low marks seem to think he’s being SERIOUS.. trust me (or me and Iain and Will), he ain’t. Not that I think that will make people like this any more than they do…