Slice Of Life - Love And A Lamp-Post
Album Review

Slice Of Life – Love And A Lamp-Post

Former Crass founder and front man Steve Ignorant last recorded with Dublin punks Paranoid Visions. His new project is Slice Of Life – a soft collection of acoustic songs mixed with spoken word that sees Ignorant backed by piano, acoustic guitar and upright bass. No, really it is. And what’s more Love And A Lamp-Post is very good.

Worlds like calm, reflective and melodic may not be the first things that come to mind when thinking about Steve Ignorant’s music. But this collection of nine tracks shows a very different side to the man. Written in one night while stranded at Sydney Airport, the songs are heartfelt and tender, and the spoken word sections give the album a slightly anarchic feel that comes close to performance art in places. It’s much more like Ian Dury and the Blockheads than Crass.

The opening title track Love And A Lamp-Post sets the tone with a thoughtful love song delivered in a voice that hovers between speaking and singing, the Essex accent strong. And then the pace is raised slightly with a cry for a counter culture to assert itself. Eleven Chimneys is also excellent, the piano leading the vocals in a song that concludes that life just comes down to “fucked or flight” in the end. The closing track Slice Of Life is a lovely song, its gentle lyrics a celebration of life with all of its imperfections.

You is a lovely short spoken rant at politicians who make cuts while getting rich, and also at those who sit back and let it happen. Clearly Steve Ignorant hasn’t lost his political edge. Here I Stand follows in a similar vein, but with a more philosophical air. It’s a search for meaning in a world where the fight seems to have gone from so many people. The Way Things Are also rails at the modern world and those who accept the prevalent mood in society in fine fashion.

This album is such a major departure for Steve Ignorant. The pace is slow and the music stark, so unlike anything else in his output over the years. Carol Hodge adds some lovely vocal harmonies and her delicate, and at times jazzy, piano provides the backdrop for several of the songs. The anger of Crass may be absent here but a close study of the lyrics shows that Ignorant’s strident politics are unchanged. And the quality of the musicianship makes this a very decent, and very different, album.

Venue: Love And A Lamp-Post
Support Band: Overground Records

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