With Boris floundering and hopefully soon to be found “dead in a ditch”, and with still no sign of imminent resolution - whoever ends up in charge - to the UK’s ongoing political fuck-shambles, Mick Hobbs ‘Brexit Is Toxic’ 7” is well-timed, even if, like many a protest song before it, it's preaching to the converted. Anyway look, if it takes a constitutional crisis to bring Officer! out of hiding - it's a price worth paying.
Hobbs has always been an old folkie at heart, it’s the tension between that and a more his more disruptive, surrealist impulses that animate the best of his key ‘80s work, and make him such a brilliant and peculiar songwriter. Joey Stack handles vocals here, sounding wonderful as ever, her breezy Raincoats-y delivery inevitably recalling the stellar heights of The Lo Yo Yo. But for us, the B-side is where it’s at… whatever “it” might be…a tribute to Cornelius Cardew, and a trailer the forthcoming Officer! album Paragraphs and Principles, which is made up entirely of Cardew pieces performed/reimagined by by Hobbs and his cohorts. ‘Para 2’ finds Hobbs narrating the essence of Cardew’s epic The Great Learning, “to illustrate illustrious virtue / to renovate the people / and to rest in the highest excellence.” The music harks back to the RIO of Biota, Henry Cow, Art Bears et al, as plumes of reverberant ambience build to a maelstrom of piano, reeds and massed voices - bonkers, and exhilarating. Say what you will about Europe... there's a certain kind of madness that will always find its fullest expression in England.
7" vinyl in picture sleeve, with printed inner and liner notes. Includes dl code.