Luke Haines & Peter Buck - All The Kids Are Super Bummed Out (Cherry Red)

Luke Haines & Peter Buck – All The Kids Are Super Bummed Out (Cherry Red)

Luke Haines stands atop the stage in flared trousers and a Panama hat, a silver-haired Peter Buck in his wake. A supergroup of a fashion, in that Luke Haines of Britpop pioneers The Auteurs, has joined forces with REM’s Peter Buck and are recording music under their own names. To be fair, this isn’t the first time the two have recorded together, having joined forces following a chance meeting in 2019, when Buck bought one of Haines’ paintings online. It was from here that the two collaborated in what turned out to be 2020’s Beat Poetry For Survivalists. This wasn’t the end of the story, and now comes All The Kids Are Super Bummed Out and so this story continues…

Assembled during the last two years over lockdowns, these artists retreated to a cold war bunker to write and record this manifesto. So where to begin, well the start is as good a place as any, so ‘The British Army On LSD’, it is then. Here Haines pokes a finger and exercises his wry sense of humour at the establishment, “…with my bare hands I chop down this tree, the British Army on LSD…”. I’m left howling at this, with images racing through my subconscious. A whistling keyboard creates the soft undergrowth, as the lyric fertilises this fantastical story. This time it is not of pixies and fairies, but real-life silhouettes that are just as alarming, or should that be absurd. As these characters we are told are “…feeling groovy…”. So if you can imagine a Luke Haines-shaped David Bellamy, directing his animated gesticulation to the words within this song, you’re halfway there. ‘The Skies Are Full Of Insane Machines’ follows, a steady beat introducing the number, before Haines chimes in, “The Skies Are Full Of Insane Machines…”, repeating this until the verse starts, “…the single planets move around. The flies know it, the trees see it, the pilots know it, we watch from the…”. I think some of that LSD was left over from the last number, but if you think about it, the skies ARE full of insane machines, but still, it’s another fascinating delve into the mind of this genius. I don’t know where these words are going, but this is all the fun. Buck and the band’s accompaniment is just as mad and they’ll have no need to check their fitness devices by the end of the day. The number closes by what I assume to be Peter’s vocal, adding in a low, rather guff vocal, “the skies full.” And the number closes its doors. Maybe Elon Musk should receive a copy.

Haines was born at the back end of the sixties and I can only assume that he has inherited some of the decade’s spirit. The album contains psychedelic forces that I guess Peter Buck, having lived the decade from a young age, saw as appealing. The assembled musicians have done an awesome job at creating the canvas over which the artists have scrawled their names. An air of almost Beach Boys’ hope in ’Sunstoke’, a history lesson in ’45 Revolutions’, as Haines shows his reading, noting the Arab spring of 2010, the Russian revolution of 1917, the constitutionalist revolution in the Ottoman Empire in 1908, the Iranian revolution of the late Seventies and the Cuban revolution during the 50s, you get the picture. As the student, my suggestion would be that it’s all out there at the end of a Google search. Although it’s the 45 revolutions that appear the real revolution that’s at the end of this tale.

As we continue, they introduced the listener to the “…psychedelic sitar…” casual, I’m imagining a more Zen version than the 80s variety that terrorised the terraces. I just love the path that Haines and Buck are leading us through, as it appears ‘The Commies Are Coming’, by the album’s mid-point. Political thinking is a major strain in the songwriting here, with a sprinkling of Strictly Come Dancing as “…god is doing the hand jive…”, in ‘The First Time I Met God’, and “…the Zinky Boys take a day trip and smash up the train”. In this number, we can find God dressed as a teddy boy singing ‘Over The Rainbow’ and Guy Mitchell, Frankie Laine and Champion the Wonder Horse making an appearance. A collection of disjointed thoughts you think. Well, in this musical soup they go together more than just well, in this moderately paced number grounded by Buck’s distorted guitar. You’ll love the 7-minute journey into ‘Exit Space (All The Kids Are Super Bummed Out)’, which starts like a Buddhist retreat, as chanting signifies its arrival. A spaceship descends from the gloom and Haines and Buck’s very competent drummer tracks its course. The narrative starts, “Experiment failed, anthems for the sun. If it’s all too much for you baby, you should come along…” in a number that Spacemen 3 would be proud of. Childlike vocals chant “All the kids are super bummed out…”, as the announcer concludes the number “…exit space, exit space…exit.”.

Through the ‘Iranian Embassy Siege‘ and if my memory serves me, this was in 1980, although again occurred several years later in 2020, ‘You’re My Kind Of Guru’ is another track where the drummer is given centre stage. ‘Flying People’ and memories of my childhood were conjured, then a number which could be an autobiographical dig in ‘Diary Of A Crap Artist‘, as the perpetrator combs his “…three decent hairs…” and a heck of a lot of feeling horny, all played on a Bontempi organ. As the album draws to a close, it’s Area 51 I assume, that sees ‘Waiting For The UFOs’ as “…the little green men take my hand, to lead me on, to take me home…”. I’m left smiling as my journey through this album has led me to believe that this could be Haines’ White album. An incredible trip, from two artists and their band who are a match made… I’m sure you get the picture.

All The Kids Are Super Bummed Out is released on 28th October 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.