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The Brute Chorus – How the Caged Bird Sings


After running the new Brute Chorus release, How the Caged Bird Sings, through my speakers and headphones a few times, I keep coming back to this phrase: working-class music. Bare bones and B.S. free, I envision a dark bar filled with regulars smoking and drinking pints, all moving in unison to a 50’s jukebox that’s blaring “Could This Be Love.”

If there was ever a time to bring back the Jitterbug, that song is the one to spark up the dance floor. These London lads – James Steel on lead vocals/guitar/harmonica, Nick Foots on lead guitar/keyboards/vocals, Dave Ferrett on bass/vocals, and Matthew Day on drums/vocals – do an amazing job of dusting off vintage rock ‘n roll riffs and giving them a new sheen and shine.

Steel belts out “Birdman” with the kind of raucous ferocity that made the girls throw panties at Jerry Lee Lewis, and can then shift down to a low Leonard Cohen whisper on “Wife,” a song tale of contemplation and the potential for betrayal.

Then there’s “Starlings,” which I seem to keep coming back to time and time again as what I see as a stand-out track for The Brute Chorus, although I’m not sure it would be promoted as a single. While the lyrics flow with a beat poet rhythm, it’s the spooky and intriguing instrumentation, the use of pedals and the underlying heartbeat of the drums, which cause visions of David Lynch’s “Lost Highway” to ramble through my brain.

The Brute Chorus has been doing what they do for two years now, with many appearances under the tour bus belt. One particular run through Europe caught my eye – playing dates in Germany with The Woodentops. Wha?!! I still love the song “Move Me.” I had no idea those dudes where still around.

What comes as no surprise is finding out that Steve Lamacq at BBC 6 Music got behind Brute Chorus, along with NME and the like.

The band’s first release, Chateau / The Cuckoo & The Stolen Heart, is available on Bumpman Records, and this new one, How the Caged Bird Sings, is out now on The Musebox/EMI.

Courtesy of Musebox and Brute Chorus, the “Could This Be Love” track:



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