If Joe Innes and The Cavalcade don’t define oddball then I don’t know what does.
The vibrant Joe Innes from London is joined by his equally eclectic indie-folk band The Cavalcade, put together by Joe himself back in 2011, to produce the group’s new EP Brian, I’m a Genius Too. Odd, yet touched by a stroke of genius, the new record is their best yet. It features some of London’s finest musicians including the Worry Dolls, Effra and Patch and the Giant, and was recorded live at London’s Soup Studios; it is a decidedly British affair.
The band made their debut with The Frighteners, a record met with overwhelming praise and admired for its ‘addictive wit’. If you are looking to fuel your craving for Joe’s jocularity, look no further; wit certainly forms the centrepiece of Brian, I’m a Genius Too. Filled with toe-tapping melodies and razor-sharp lyricism, the new EP is a whimsical undertaking.
‘Fables’ is an adventurous track which showcases the group’s incessant references to various pop cultures. Joe sings of shooting Jesse James and the “kids out of fame”; his vocals are a stream of creative consciousness, full of adventure and sheer intelligence. The many musical retorts are masterfully layered over the low oohs of a male-led chorus, fine-tuned by plucky guitar twangs, and a melody as playful as its vocal accompaniment. ‘Wake The Dead’ is equally as confident in its lyrical-borrowing from Gloria Gaynor - an exotic but truly wonderful choice, which adds to the unwavering outlandishness about the album. The track, however, that is perhaps the pinnacle of such jesting is ‘Laughing Gas’, the 59 seconds of pure randomness as Joe tells one of his many life anecdotes in the form of a laughing gas escapade. The song is backed by the folksy accompaniments characteristic of the band. “The first time I had laughing gas, I cried”, Joe nonchalantly coos – it is certainly not your average opener.
Despite the tongue and cheek frivolities that make up much of this band’s music, there is much more to be found than first meets the eye (or ear) once we begin to scratch the surface. Actually, the puns and quips are not frivolities at all, rather hints of a deeper and darker seriousness. In tracks ‘God Only Knows I Tried’ and ‘Half Gone’, Innes deals with heavier themes of love, loss, identity and disappointment amidst beautiful folk strings and lighter percussion hits.
Through both ups and downs, Joe Innes and The Cavalcade will have you in fits. Dubbed ‘showstopping’ by none other than BBC’s Steve Lamacq, this band is one to see live. Brian, I’m A Genius Too is out this June 16th. The countdown begins.
Words - Claudia Turnbull
Released June 16th. Buy Here