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Track by Track: Polite Bureaux- C*nt Monday

Vital, skilled, talented, and whip-smart, Brighton-based broken-beat-makers Polite Bureaux have been making waves at their high-energy live shows and on BBC Radio 6. Formed by Joe Smith and joined on stage by his blood sister Maya Lili and Raver Viv Maher, the band buzzes with righteous kinetic energy and razor-sharp political commentary. London-born, Bradford-formed, Joe uses bass lines and beats with alt-electronic production, reflecting the diabolical truths of John Cooper Clarke. Today they release their debut album C*nt Monday exclusively on Bandcamp – together with the video for ‘Broke Biscuits.’ The first half of a double A-side single which will be available on 28th March when the album is available to stream on all platforms.

‘Scratchcard ‘has already been played on BBC Radio 6 Music as part of their New Music Fix by Deb Grant and Tom Ravenscroft, with Deb saying, “I’m really enjoying that one. I’m enjoying the cut of their jib,” as well as being played by Melita Denitt on BBC Introducing They were handpicked for the Sound of 2024 at GIITTV and are the prescient voice of our times.

Describing their new album Polite Bureaux said it’s about “How a bunch of C words became the subject of our debut album. It’s about how Britain is not only broke, it’s broken.”  Expect brutal honesty and searingly witty, smart insights into modern society. Stories include social antics that could only be made in broken Britain.

GIITTV were delighted to speak to frontman Joe Smith about the album.

We are just back from the Meryl Streek tour where we met lovely people. We shared a number of our new tracks on the tour from our upcoming DIY Debut Album C*nt Monday, we all had a great time and we were Joined on stage by Conner Griffiths on drums for the tour

The album ‘C*nt Monday’ started as stories and poems written about the hard time, our Dad
‘Robert’ who also did our artwork for the front cover, he wrote a lot of the stories about things that happened and shaped our lives that started in 2016. The first story and track ‘Rollercoaster’ is about how we lost our house and the people and experiences that affected us as he navigated the seemingly simple things like finding a place to stay. This has driven the other songs on the album about experiences, like dealing with the universal credit system that he (dad) has always insisted sets anyone coming into that system on a path to fail.

“The album starts by telling the stories about moving around the country as this became a thing for Myself and Maya since 2016, after our parents lost their home and we moved from one place to another, there were a lot of nights where it was uncertain if it was going to be spent in a car, a
friend’s house and there was a lot of Travelodge, I think my parents have moved over 30 times since

My own move to Brighton was at the advice of my Dad who said ‘go and study, get a student
loan to get some stability, so that’s what I did and it turned out that this lived story became a big
part of the debut album

“Sharing our own stories and taking them out on tour with Meryl Streek has warmed our hearts, we have met people who relate to the stories and by talking about these sometimes-difficult moments in the joyful way we have put these stories to music has helped us escape, even if it’s just for an hour, it has certainly made us feel happier.

Joe then kindly talked us through each track on the album.


‘Scratchcard’ is about those times moving around after my dad lost the house, I was about 16 and Maya was 14. The M606 is a motorway outside Bradford that connects to the M62, It’s a true story of almost running out of fuel and mum buying a scratch card and winning enough to fuel up. But it’s also about the ‘scratchcard’ that seems to be a good representation of how the country is going, there is hope and desperation for some in buying a scratch card and as for Britain it just seems to get harder to afford to live here, but we cling on and hope.

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The track ‘Rollercoaster’ written by my dad is where it all began and about how they lost the house he built on a TV show and the people and experiences that affected us all that ultimately led them to navigate the simple things like finding a place and how people’s actions collectively against a person can really affect someone’s life.

‘Uamelon’ is a track about people with differences and being misunderstood in this case it’s about being asked to leave Central Saint Martins by email as the course was considered far too intellectual. It’s a story about being considered a bit thick which turned out to be dyslexia. It’s a reminder diversity can sometimes be hidden.

Broke Biscuits came about as an idea after our mum went to work in a biscuit factory, it was really long days for people working there, we would pick her up after work and everybody came out of the factory looking a little broken. This is a track that tells the story of all the stories in the album and like the cover artwork represents – just ‘stop doing bad things to other people’ ‘Who do you want to be?’ Just think about it and stop being a ‘C*nt

John Cooper Clarke’s ‘I wanna be yours’ is one of my favourite poems, the line ‘I wanna be your
vacuum cleaner/Breathing in your dust’ helped us write the track ‘Laptop Computer’ and the line ‘I wanna be your Lap Top Computer, downloading all your porn/I wanna be your Electric scooter, beep, beep, beep on your horn,’ is the story of living with a temperamental laptop that seems to run your life and the two opposing sides of the electric scooter – fun and danger..

“‘Vegan Baconis a story with Kermit the Frog as the main character, he has been featured in songs before such as songs by LCD Soundsystem and seemed a good way to tell a story that is both true and fictional, he is living in a budget hotel and after consciously uncoupling with Piggy Leas meets a brunette called Denise. The story switches between childhood memories, the line ‘halfway down the stairs, listening to council house affairs’ refers to Kermit’s nephew Robin the frog singing ‘halfway down’ a poem by A. A. Milne and memories of sitting on the stairs in a council house outside Bradford listening to all the goings on.

This track almost wrote itself. This is a collection of things that have occurred, been said or written to one or all of us in the band at one time or another. High hit rate on a Monday too!

Dirty is a rant song about the people you encounter in life and on the streets, who appear to hold a greater power than you in one way or another, it’s a reminder they don’t and is a collaboration track with Meryl Streek.

“Dollars and Dimes’, Stink’ and ‘Bodyrocker’ are all songs about difference, whatever your difference may be, you sometimes stand out. There are a lot of people in our family who have differences, are on the spectrum and can sometimes be a bit awkward, struggle to make eye contact and fidget and it can land you in trouble for being mistaken for being on drugs, being unfriendly or socially detached.

The Album cover (below) was a photo taken in Brighton outside the Prince Albert Pub, with Joe Smith looking at the copy of the originally removed Banksy. The figures on the cover represent crime scene outlines. It seemed like the perfect place to discuss the two outline figures which are one and the same, that represents we are all the same; we are all human. One holds a weapon the other a branch, that in our mind represents ‘just stop doing bad things to other people’. The one holding a weapon has another figure behind it, as they usually come in numbers. There is a backward P and O on the branch holds the key to how the sound of the entire album came to be with the Pocket Operator.

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Speaking of the future Joe said, “There will be an album release show coming up around the 9th April 2024 in Brighton. We have our own six-date tour coming up in September 2024 and tickets will go on sale in a month’s time. We are already recording our second Album, so already back in the studio and have already recorded a track called ‘Bradford’ that is a bit of a heartbreaker, we hope to be playing a part in the Bradford City of Culture too.”

Polite Bureaux’s debut album C*nt Mondays is available exclusively on Bandcamp now.

Alongside the Album on Vinyl will be available for Pre-order on Thursday 14th March at 10am The first 100 pressed vinyl Records will be available with limited edition numbered (1/100) album covers with individual hand-drawn Artwork. here

The Broke Biscuits Double A-Side single will be dropping 28th March, when the Album is officially available on all major streaming platforms.

See politebureauxband.com for more details

Music | Polite Bureaux (bandcamp.com)

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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.