By The Erratic Man
Some time ago I interviewed The Infadels for a University project. Now, I realise this is a music review and not a character reference but what I was met with were five of the genuinely nicest, down to earth and hospitable gentlemen I have ever had the pleasure to meet in my life. The relevance? Well there's this old saying that 'nice guys finish last' and unfortunately the band didn't quite make the cut. Another act left in the pits of early hyperbole, they never quite managed to transfer those early eye-catching live performances (Leeds 05 sticks in the memory) onto record. Their unique qualities seemed to somewhat vanish when met with gadgets and a studio. But let's get things straight, their debut was by no means a 'bad record'. The songs were absolutely fine for what they were, they were just missing the spark of the chaotic live shows.
Which brings me on to follically challenged frontman Bnann, now known as 'The Erratic Man'. Having never seen him perform live as a 'solo' act, I'm intrigued as to how I'll take to his latest musical endeavour. At first I'm not too sure. His voice is as understated as ever, and it seems to conflict the ear-catching fanfare and joy of the music behind him. The song, a hop-skip and jump jaunt through nostalgia ("your love makes me feel like I am back in the day") complete with childlike noises in the background almost passes one by like an ice-cream van in November. The remix, however. Blimey.
I hate remixes. To me, they're a boredom inducing throwaway excuse of a B-Side, or a cash in side-project album. But this. This is like selling Gareth Barry and signing Mario Gotze. The sped up reggae of the first effort is replaced by electronic noise more akin to The Infadels themselves. Far superior to the main version, it compels and frustrates in equal measure sweeping from Katy B's finest moments to crashing and stuttered vocals. It's an absolute beast, and probably suggests that Bnann would be more at home somewhere closer to his roots.
Where does this leave The Erratic Man then? To say 'Back In The Day' is a bad record would be completely erroneous. It's a fresh change for Bnann, and one that he seems to be comfortable with. That's kind of the problem for me though. The name alone 'The Erratic Man' hints at a major new direction, something completely challenging to listener and musician alike. But this is as simple and generic as music and lyrics come, with the B-Side perhaps showing that his inner conflict in encouraging electronics just won't leave his creative belly. That's assuming he even has a say in the remixes at all which lets face it, isn't always the case.
A sterling effort nonetheless.