Luke Haines - I Sometimes Dream Of Glue (Cherry Red)

Luke Haines – I Sometimes Dream Of Glue (Cherry Red)

Luke Haines is probably better known for his acerbic presence on Twitter than his music these days- though in the last two decades he has amassed an extraordinary catalogue of work. He produced 24-carat, quintessentially British guitar music in the Auteurs, ruffled feathers with Baader Meinhof – a remarkable album as much as indebted to George Clinton as the history of European terrorism – and had genuine pop success in Black Box Recorder. He is responsible for the greatest rock memoir I’ve ever read (Bad Vibes: Britpop and my part in its downfall), and until about the mid-noughties his arch, hyper-melodic solo albums used the same musical vocabulary as his work with aforementioned Auteurs and Black Box Recorder. As his profile has dwindled (or perhaps more accurately, as the structure of the industry has changed) Haines has indulged in more obtuse, conceptual fare – pastoral albums about British wrestling in the 1970s, an album which casts Nick Lowe as a badger in a psychedelic alternate universe, his Outsider Music project which was ostensibly fifty separate performances of the same album. It’s safe to assume he isn’t vying for a ticket on the Britpop Reunion Gravy Train.

Which brings us to I Sometimes Dream Of Glue – a concept album about (deep inhale) a fictional town (Glue Town) created by the spillage of an experimental solvent in the wake of WW2. It’s a settlement ‘born out of mutation’ whose inhabitants are ‘no taller than 2 ½ inches and live on a diet of solvent abuse and perpetual horniness.’ Right then.

The record is a humorous, creepy, pastoral listen – think Half Man Half Biscuit by way of The Incredible String Band and Robyn Hitchcock (to whom, I must assume, the album title is a doff of the hat). While it’s some of Haines’ gentlest music the lyrics are amusingly harsh – twisted, humourously carnal, violent and nihilistic. Take ‘Subbuteo Lads’- a song, simply, about getting pasted by a Subbuteo team. ‘Angry Man On A Small Train‘ is an archetype of the songs on the album, musically gorgeous and lyrically ridiculous. ‘Everyone Is Coming Together For The Summer’ (Parts One and Two) are unhinged, Kwik Save-Black Sabbath. ‘Oh, Michael’ is an oddly touching number, and bears similarity with 9 ½ Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling in the 1970s – a record which was similarly successful in making specialist subject matter moving, accessible and satisfying (what do you mean, you haven’t heard it?!). ‘We Could Do It’ is a gorgeous song about al fresco copulation – it sounds like one of Darren Hayman’s best, by way of Blue Jam style coal black humour.

…Glue’ might be Haines’ best album since 9 ½ Meditations…; the moments of musical pastiche are incredibly affectionate, the songs are funny and strange and memorable. It’s a genuinely psychedelic record in the way that Haines invests in his ridiculous alternative universe. It’s the sound of a brilliant man going quietly insane in his shed, and the world is a richer place for it.

I Often Dream Of Glue is released on 11th May through Cherry Red.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.