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Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (30 Oct. 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Degenerate Music
  • ASIN: B000I8OCJ4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 253,245 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop
  2. Leeds United
  3. The Heritage Rock Revolution
  4. All The English Devils
  5. The Walton Hop
  6. Fighting In The City Tonight
  7. Here's To Old England
  8. Freddie Mills Is Dead
  9. Secret Yoga
  10. Bad Reputation (The Glitter Band)

Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
My instant reaction on the first listen was the worst thing is that a couple of the tracks are almost boring. If anyone else had produced them, they would be shocking, but for Haines they seem predictable, almost safe. Given my own peculiar tastes, I will lap up any repetition of his old themes such as pointing out the brutal underside of England, the divisions of class and the faux romance of crime, but lyrically scant new ground is broken. It is the same musically.

Aside from some ill-advised nods to English music hall tradition, it is the expected mix of guitars, sly seventies' references, retro synth, the odd bit of cello, delicate, entrancing pop sensibilities and one dance-orientated track.

However, typical Haines also means a display of genius and bravery. No one else around has the guts/ill taste (strike as you feel appropriate) to tackle subjects such as the Yorkshire Ripper and the abusive, grooming potential of pop stardom. No other songwriter is honest enough to deal with the grim nature of growing up in England in the Ford Cortina decade; to remind us it was dominated by a poverty of perspective and a wilful, tacky glossing over of its moments of utter darkness.

There are songs on Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop I know I will grow to love. I already adore the frightening mix of crashing guitar, terrace stomp and tinkling piano of Leeds United with its final chilling refrain of: `The North, the North/Where we do what we want'. The mordant autopsies of deceased Englishness in All The English Devils and Here's To Old England have me semi-seduced. How can you not feel affection for a song with the lines: 'Here's to old England/Sliced white bread and milky tea/Sarcasm, a well-developed sense of irony'?
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have a lot if Luke's work but I struggle now to retain an interest in it. This was a good album when it came out, though not his best solo effort in my view. Maybe one day I will get back onto it but in any case it is far better than the rubbish you served up on radio these days.
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Format: Audio CD
Luke Haines follows the career compilation `Luke Haines is Dead' with the wonderfully titled `Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop,' which in many ways feels like a successor to Seventies-themed Auteurs' album `How I Learned to Love the Bootboys.' As the knowing few will tell you, Luke Haines is one of the great contemporary songwriters, with a back-catalogue of releases as The Auteurs, Baader Meinhof and Black Box Recorder to prove it, as well as his great solo debut `The Oliver Twist Manifesto.' Imagine if the Divine Comedy weren't so irritatingly ironic, student-friendly and had the savvy of Ray Davies and Mark E Smith and you might be near...

Luke Haines' universe is a special one, filled with terrorists, gangsters, serial killers, fascists, the English motorway system, and an extended cast of unsavoury characters - many of whom are here. Haines likes pop - Billie Piper's `Honey to the B' apparently being model for BBB's top 20 hit `The Facts of Life', while he is apparently cited Falco in relation to the Richard X-remix of `Leeds United.' Despite the 1970s-theme the music has an 80s feel, the keyboards on the opening title track reminding me of something like Freeez or Frazier Chorus, though there is a riff that sounds like a 1970s one hit wonder to me. People forget the 1970s, buying into the `Life on Mars'-version of it - Haines, like Morrissey, doesn't appear to have got over it, and is here to remind us all, notably on the hilarious `Here's to Old England', which is the missing link between `English Scheme' and a certain era of XTC.

`Leeds United' taps into the vibe of David Peace's novels, notably his recent `The Damned United' (the kind of book Martin Amis should have shoved down his trachea) and the Yorkshire Ripper-alluding book in his 1970s-sequence.
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Format: Audio CD
More nauseous despatches from the trenches of modern Britain in another superb album from Haines. Off My Rocker...is sonically cleaner and, ostensibly at least, more upbeat than Haines's typical fare but the lyrical concerns fester as viciously as ever: the decline of the English sensibility, the mad carnival of post-war Britain, the malignant triumphs of the misfits and the morlocks. A typical example of the mix is Leeds United, in which the Yorkshire Ripper watches football from the terraces, dreaming of murders that are as much his weekly treat as visits to the pub and World of Sport are for the men around him, all set to a mock-glam rock that's by turns exultant and sinister. Doomed boxer Freddie Mills, Jimmy Saville, Jonathan King, the "middle-age rampage" of heritage rock - all swim into view in this elegantly punchy, musically sumptuous album that, like everything Haines produces, lingers long in the mind like a worrying letter from overseas.
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Format: Audio CD
It's not exactly new for an artist to return to that formerly reviled but now undergoing a furtive renaissance decade, the 70,s for inspiration. Lawrence of Felt did it with Denim a few years back. But no one has ever cast a forensically caustic eye over the seventies like Luke Haines.

Ditching the usual alter-egos Haines assimilates seventies textures and sounds-keyboards that squelch like vitreous humour shot out of a cannon , trebly shafts of guitar, handclaps and syncopated beats-but scours it all with his misanthropic world view. Like sucking a spangle only to find it has an aspic centre.

The lyrics are wry , acerbic and as sharp as a titanium stiletto ( "Gary Glitter/He's a bad bad man/Ruining the reputation of the Glitter Band") though as a Northerner I take umbrage at "Leeds United"...though not too much. In terms of song writing it sometimes runs hand in hand with overwrought parody. "All The English Devils" for some reason has tippling Charleston like piano and a silly middle eight while "The Heritage Rock Revolution " could have been a reject from some ghastly West End rock show written by Elton John at his most flabbily excessive , though that may well have been the point. "The Walton Hop" tangles its thorny chords into a bramble infested mess.

This being Haines though there is enough to stimulate the ears as well as the grey matter. The title track is a superb period pastiche while "Leeds United" sounds like the best terrace anthem ever written. "Fighting In The City Tonight" is an hugely enjoyable pop song." Freddie Mills Is Dead" starts with funereal precision before traipsing through a whimsical change of pace and melody. "Secret Yoga" is built upon wide screen keyboards and reminds me of XTC at their most exotically seductive.
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