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Beans On Toast – A Bird In The Hand //Beans On Toast Music// (Released 30th November)

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£18.99 – Indies Only Turquoise LP 

Sticking firmly to his tradition of releasing a new album on the same date each year, 2018 was always going to be a big deal for Beans on Toast with this year seeing his 10th album release. To celebrate the landmark anniversary, Beans got back in touch with Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, who had produced his first album a decade ago, and together they hatched a plan.

Utilizing the hospitality of Lovett (whose band were spending much of their time at London’s legendary Church Studios making their next record), Beans found himself enjoying the same incredible facilities during off days and late nights, to lay down A Bird In Hand, along with with the help of in-house engineer, Riley MacIntyre.

Calling in mutual friends, Ben and Beans arranged a team of incredible musicians, including Mumford & Sons’ live drummer Chris Mass and Dutch artist Christof van der Ven on guitar. Ted Dwane offered bass on a couple of tracks, and Ben himself took up piano and production duties to bring a clear, contemporary, and unique vision to the Beans’ songs. The result is arguably Beans on Toast’s finest album to date. The album is diverse, easily switching between folk ballads, punk bangers and swing numbers without ever losing sight of itself or it’s listener.

A lot has changed in the years since the debut album, in both the world and also in Beans’ personal life, this is reflected in both the sound and the subject matter of this new album. Most notably in the stand out track and third single ‘MAGIC’, a song about the birth of his daughter earlier this year. An emotional and honest account of what can usually be a difficult subject to tackle, Beans achieves this without being crass or soppy, almost a trademark of his these days.

Songs about his daughter are scattered through the album, she’s clearly been quite the inspiration. First single ‘ANOTHER YEAR’ an ode to his Dad and his daughter, both of whom feature in the video for the song. ‘HERE AT HOMERTON HOSPITAL’ is an ode to the East London institution where she was born and its wonderful staff.

There are no songs about getting intoxicated and, surprisingly, not a single profanity on the entire album. This wasn’t purposeful and was actually pointed out after the album had been mastered. However, that doesn’t mean Beans has run out of things to say about the world. ‘BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH’ tackles the catastrophic plastic pollution disaster we’re living in and second single ‘ALEXA’ looks at the future of voice-activated Internet and oncoming Amazon world domination. It’s funny but thought provoking, another one of Beans trademark.

Over the course of his huge career Beans has become something of a cult national treasure. What seemed like a throwaway festival act has evolved into something much more important, a voice of truth and honesty, cutting through the bullshit. A consistent and reliable modern-day troubadour, not afraid to speak his mind. Always touring, always writing, recording and releasing music. Playing every festival under the sun and always, always, telling it like it is.

When asked if he thought this was a political record Beans said:

“I think everyone already knows where I stand on Trump and Brexit, and if not, they can listen to my last two albums. This album is more personal I guess, focusing on family and the world on my doorstep. That’s where my heads been this last year”

Speaking of the song ‘MAGIC’ Beans said:

“I’ve been playing this song live for a while now, and it definitely strikes a chord. More than any song I’ve ever written, I think. After my shows, the conversations used to all be about after parties or ecstasy, now more often than not it’s about parenting or newborn babies. Which is fine with me”

And commenting on working with Ben Lovett

“I have so much respect for Ben. I couldn’t quite believe he said yes when I asked him if he fancied doing another record. I presumed he’d be way too busy, but somehow he managed to find the time. I thought he was joking when he said he’d sorted it for us to work in The Church Studios. Not only were we in such a legendary space to record, but we also had all of Mumford’s guitars and instruments set up, mic’ed up and ready to go. It might just be the biggest blag I’ve ever pulled. Punching well above my weight. The sessions had a really special magic about them and Ben took my songs into new waters. I’m well happy with the record. I can’t wait for people to hear it. I also can’t wait to make another 10 records.”

‘A Bird in the Hand’ is a celebration of love, life, family and the world in which we live. It’s about appreciating what we have and in that, it is a triumph.

Additional information

Format

Indies Only Turquoise LP, Standard Black LP