January 5, 2000
Instant Wigwam And Igloo Mixture
Twenty years after he first released a record, and [B]Lawrence[/B] - the visionary behind [B]Felt[/B], one of the greatest groups of the '80s - continues to live life as an art statement....
7 / 10
Twenty years after he first released a record, and Lawrence - the visionary behind Felt, one of the greatest groups of the '80s - continues to live life as an art statement. But if Felt's career (ten singles and ten albums in ten years) was a masterpiece of stubbornness and forward planning, life hasn't been so ordered since.
In the recent past, Lawrence's status as the last great English outsider has been stretched to breaking point. After Felt came Denim, and their erratic track record -; including the release of 'Novelty Rock', one of the most annoying albums ever made - has pushed Lawrence devotees to the limit. 'Instant Wigwam And Igloo Mixture' is, at least tentatively, a return to form. Meant as a stopgap until Lawrence resumed his relationship with Alan McGee at Creation, it sees him re-establishing contact with the holy trinity of Birmingham, punk and glam rock.
What that means is vitriolic songs about the Queen Mum and the music biz nestling alongside a gay sea shanty and a song about tropical fruit drink Um Bongo. Mostly, it sounds like ideas that were destined for the third Denim album, but the one exception is 'Mrs Back-To-Front And The Bull Ring Thing', a profoundly strange fairy tale, where Lawrence turns into the Aphex Twin.
That aside, the main reason to buy this record is for its sleeve notes - particularly the section on suggested band names. If anyone does ever form a group called Canada Briggs And Her Problems Down There, we'll have one man to thank. It's what makes Lawrence a national treasure.
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