Toasted Heretic : Now In New Nostalgia Flavour

I have put off beginning this review for several days because I just don’t know where to begin. What could bring a hackneyed ex-reviewer such as Phil Rose esq out of retirement and back to the keyboard when he could be taking pictures or playing with his kid? Well, none other than the brave, the manly, the anything but obsolete, reborn like a Celtic Phoenix Toasted Heretic.

But how shall I review Toasted Heretic? This band who once squatted in my Walthamstow basement and ate cream cheese dipped in baked bean juice? This band with whom I appeared on stage dressed as a Roman (see fig. 1) and pinged Tony Wilson on the head with my tin tray which was emblazoned with the likenesses of Charles and Di? This band who waved me off on Slattery’s coach from Galway with white paper napkins waved like the white handkerchiefs waved to spare the life of the bull? This band, without the lead singer of which I would never have had the nerve to approach that wondrous topless vision in the desert and my daughter would not be here at all. (see fig 2)
Well I suppose I could shut up about myself and talk about the band. Toasted Heretic are the biggest band never to be a big band. They strode Ireland’s fair isle like a colossus and tales were told around the fire of the day that daddy hitch hiked to Dublin to see them play the ball. They routinely packed out venues, they were forcefully ejected from their own festivals, they courted, seduced and ultimately insulted Tony Wilson (as mentioned) and thus narrowly avoided the fast approaching rubble of an imploding Factory Records. Every great opportunity for success they routinely fouled up in the most glorious of foul mouthed mid-day radio or lack of corporate line towing. And still they had a number one hit and were the only cassette-only release to be reviewed in Q Magazine and on and on and on.

But what is the music, I hear you squeal? Well, for best results turn on your twiddly Internet browser and point it here for a snippet of ‘Lost and Found’ and Ally Seren Rose esq dancing like a devil. Toasted Heretic are the purest form of intelligent pop. They are all about the lyrics except that they are arse kicking musicians of a standard not seen too often in this dirty, dirty world. Every song is in a different style spanning jazz, pop, rock, country and punk, and each style, whether its desired effect is to haunt, to exhilarate, to entrance, each does so with a 10.0 accuracy rating and a 180 i.q.

If one begins to quote Toasted Heretic lyrics one might end up wasting the whole page listing the words of J. Gough. All I can say is that all I ever wanted was to write a lyric as perfect as ‘all you ever wanted was to write a song as perfect as Take the Skinheads Bowling but of course you never did’. Here be songs that cover the whole world of emotions, of love, of loss, of scary parties, of loss of childish drug enjoyment. Nothing is obvious, nothing is clichéd, nothing is lazily written. If you like life, you’ll like Toasted Heretic (note to Julian, that was the pull quote.)

So why the hell should you go to your local record store and buy this album? Why should you act the lazy goat and stay home and spin your way to or maybe and order a copy from the comfort of your chez longue? Why should you approach you local radio station and demand with menaces that they play every track off both CDs back to back and all day long? Why should you throw every other song from your iPod and replace them with this album burned to the vile little white plasticky widget over and over until all forty gigabytes are full of Drown the Browns, You can Always Go Home et al? Why should you have the cover of their first album painted on the back of your black leather jacket like a moron?

I’ll tell you why, shall I? Because they are quite the greatest thing to hit the sorry world of pop music since I don’t know when. Utterly original they would put to shame every other fool, buffoon and dunce who is recording their feeble twittlings if only those buffoons were listening.

OK, I’m talking shite here. If you really need a list of good attributes they would include Toasted Heretic’s range. They can break your heart with their jazz licks, they can blow your socks off with their power chords, they can destroy you with their punk rock and they can lull you to sleep with their classical guitar. They can even rap though not in a way you’d be terribly proud of. Actually I love that track- not that you’ll ever hear it for ‘tis lost in the meandering back alleys of time on a cassette in my cupboard. ‘A word from Toasted Heretic, don’t suck corporate dick’. Sage advice indeed. They can make you laugh, lust or cry with lyrical dexterity such as I have genuinely never found anywhere else. Indeed, such a list of fine attributes would also undoubtedly include the fact that their lyrics turn you into the worst kind of bore, the kind who recites lyrics to other people because they’re so goddamn great. And what an annoying fool that will make you.

Best of all, of course, is the fact that the booklet has a picture of I, Phil Rose esq. urinating in a London street and dressed like a tit. What larks.

Well, I’m sick of this. I’m reminded of why I gave up writing reviews. They so infrequently actually talk about the product in question and instead wander off into endless aimless ramblings about me. Blah blah blah I go, on and on until finally I get to the end of the page and can hit the Publish to web button.

Phil Rose

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