Ex-Supergrass drummer's solo debut bristles with pop spirit
If Gaz Coombes has taken the melodic impetus of Supergrass into more mature, considered territories on his two solo albums, at least ‘Grass drummer Danny Goffey, under the guise of Vangoffey, is still lobbing lark-about pop bombs for a larf. When lead track ‘Race Of Life’ emerged in April it seemed to herald a novelty project – it was, after all, an Ian Dury-like spoken-word disco funk song narrated by a doleful cockney sperm “shot out of my old man’s shooter, summer of ’73… just one of a million sons and daughters swimming in milky waters”. ‘Womblife’, if you will.
In fact, past this wry opener, ‘Take Your Jacket Off…’ bristles with Supergrass’ original pop spirit, no matter how daft it gets. When the 41-year-old gets stuck with a coked-up pub egotist going on about their “art villa” in Ibiza and being mates with Banksy on ‘You You You’, it’s told with a clappy folk-pop dazzle reminiscent of ‘Pumping On Your Stereo’. When ‘The No. 9’ has him meeting an android woman on the bus, getting married and having a robot child and dog “called Nige”, it’s held together with the same falsetto chorus magic that helped ‘I Should Coco’ make your ears fizz like popping candy. ‘Beta Man’ celebrates the lazy-ass slob of a house-husband with the same jocular calypso jig that made his name on ‘Alright’ and the trademark ‘Grass “la-la-la”s that Kaiser Chiefs never got quite right. It’s undoubtedly a record for people who wish Supergrass were still in it for the money.
He’s just as playful musically, merging corny electronica with sunny strums and comedy mid-song skits, but Goffey has also matured in his own knockabout way. Marriage, middle-age and parenthood are all mercilessly dissected, for better or worse. ‘Spilt Milk’ is a torrent of forty-something paranoia, alcoholism and desperation, Goffey struck by “the rock’n’roll shakes”, and when it comes to children, he doesn’t shy away from the sweetness or the blight. The psych-punk ‘Lenny’ that is ‘Trials Of A Modern Man’ lands you in a speeding car full of fighting kids covered in puke but, just as you’re considering a brutal DIY vasectomy with a housebrick, along comes ‘Alfie Loves The Birds’. It’s not about some skirt-chasing gadabout but a sweet pastoral ode to Goffey’s son gasping at sparrows. All adult life is here; wry, terrifying, frustrating and drunk, plus lots of fun bits about singing semen and shagging robots. Get into it.
Director: Danny Goffey, Simon Byrt
Record label: Distiller
Release date: 23 Oct, 2015