Baxter Dury It's A Pleasure on LP + Download
There are certain points in everyone’s life when they must take stock: weigh-up their impact on the world, consider their contribution to society and look back on those they left in their wake. Fortunately for Baxter Dury these moments of self-reflection not only tend to manifest themselves in tragicomic snapshots, but happily they coincide with making records. Returning with his fourth life ledger – or new album It’s A Pleasure if you prefer – a series of conflicted emotions, stark drum beats, comic vignettes and strung out synths come together to present one man’s wry take on the battle with existence. It’s metaphysics meets morose disco. It’s marvellous.
The listener should not fear It’s A Pleasure’s embrace. Yes there’s anxiety and failure, but there’s a rich vein of humour and cheer. “I try to make it jovial but quite serious. Jovial on purpose is awful, but genuine misfortune is funny, you can laugh at it. It’s not zany. Zany is awful. Complicated levels of misfortune are funny,” explains Dury. “A lot of it is crude portraits of male inadequacy and then there are songs that are shopping lists of people’s ambitions that don’t quite hit the mark any more. It’s a record of ill-fitting trousers, basically.”
Following on from Dury’s acclaimed 2010 album Happy Soup, It’s A Pleasure has been worked on in the world’s best equipped studios in cities including Paris and New York – also loads of it ended up being recorded in Dury’s living room. “It was a massive exhaustive exercise in how to waste money, tears and emotions,” jokes Dury of the album’s creation, which saw him principally work alongside guitarist friend Mike Moore, although members of Babyshambles also contributed to the process before Arcade Fire and Arctic Monkeys collaborator Craig Silvey mixed it.
It’s A Pleasure is a deliciously enjoyable blast of scandalous truths and quirky Schadenfreude. Opener and near title track, "Pleasure’s" catalog of missteps and mistakes soars over chiming synths, while the provocative "Other’s Men Girls" finds Dury at his spoken word best as he contemplates romantic disaster. Elsewhere there’s the forlorn disco pop of "Petals," the spikey swirl of "Wintery Kisses" and the boisterous "Police," the latter inspired by noise dispute with a neighbor.
“Happy Soup, was more sun-kissed, it was about innocent failure. This one is a little darker. A different mind-set, I think, a starker record," Dury adds. "It’s darker in its nature, it’s icier but it’s the same old bollocks! It’s from the same deli counter… actually is it? It’s more like trying to eat frozen chicken.” It’s a chilly pleasure, but one that will warm your heart.
Baxter Dury It's A Pleasure Track Listing:
2. Palm Trees
3. Other Men’s Girls
8. White Men
9. Wintery Kisses