It's not really this grim up north....

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DJ Pogo Presents The Breaks

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DJ Pogo Presents The Breaks

IT’S NOT REALLY THIS GRIM up north. The sleeve of Airedale skunk rockers Bedlam Ago Go’s debut LP depicts a car dashboard, bristling with torn cables where the stereo used to be; the music within illustrates that concrete nether world of Cocker legend where ‘grass is something you smoke, birds are something you shag and the sky rains broken glass on the smack cripples in our cities’ tenements’. Not many jokes, then.

However, ‘Estate Style Entertainment’ is more than a trawl through the emotional gutter. This is a document of one man’s struggle; singer Leigh Kenny’s battle with mental illness, urban paranoia and reality itself. For while Bedlam might have aspired towards manufacturing a vivid slice of urban [I]viriti[/I], they have created something considerably more harrowing.

From the bombast of opening track ‘Northern Nights’ to acoustic closer ‘My So-Called Life’, ‘Estate Style Entertainment’ is afflicted by Kenny’s terrifying world view. As such, this record sounds like what Black Grape might have made if they’d been forced, matchsticks under eyelids, to stay awake for the last two years.

As twisted as this vision might be, there’s much to recommend here like ‘Flat 29’ and the Old Testament dub war of ‘Season No 5’ and, as a whole, ‘Estate Style…’ has the ghoulish fascination of a train wreck. It’s somebody else’s pain and happily somebody else’s life.