# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Buster Shuffle - Naked

  by Tom Fogarty

published: 14 / 9 / 2014

Buster Shuffle - Naked
Label: Century Media
Format: CD


Slow-burning third album from energetic Cockney ska outfit Buster Shuffle, which finds them abandoning some of their former playfulness for a newfound maturity and sense of direction

I first discovered Buster Shuffle when they were supporting Chas & Dave on the final show of their farewell tour at the O2 Indigo in London. They were promoting their first album, 'Our Night Out', at the time and they were on fine form. Although I'd never heard of them before I was really impressed and they quickly won over the crowd; the band were not intimidated by the boisterous audience at the sold out show, and rose to the occasion triumphantly. I then had the pleasure of seeing them headlining at the historic 100 Club after the release of their second album, 'Do Nothing', and once again they blew the place apart. The boys are now back with their third studio album, 'Naked' - but will it live up to the success and critical acclaim of their previous work? Album opener, 'South', is as energetic and upbeat as you'd expect from Buster Shuffle and is a strong way to kick things off. 'New Money' is another example of lead singer Jet Baker's sharp sense of humour and song writing ability. The song is also the first indicator that the band are heading in a slightly darker direction this time. New themes are explored, showing that the lads have grown up a lot since their last offering. Although still playful, their sound is more mature - both lyrically and musically, which probably testifies to their heavy touring schedule and time in the studio since 2007. Topics such as class, money and relationship break-ups feature predominately this time around, and is a far cry from the chirpy ska-enthused ditties that they have previously released. 'Naked' continues in a similar vein, only with marriage, family and mortgages on the agenda. "Yeah, yeah, yeah - I want it all," sings Jet, then goes on to mock wine lists, labradors, organic vegetables, posh holidays, shares in Apple (not Microsoft), among other things. Next up is 'Devon', which is a return to more familiar Buster Shuffle territory; a light-hearted, fast-paced foot stomper, detailing a funny account of a disastrous holiday to the English coast. 'Take Him Down' is quite downbeat lyrically (as the title would suggest), but is wrapped up in a catchy and misleading tune which draws you in before you've even realised what's going on. 'I Wrote This Song because My Girlfriend Told Me I was Lonely' is not as depressing as it sounds - like Sparks when they were on good form in the 70s; whereas 'It's OK because the Kids are Fashionable' is reminiscent of 'Grey Day'-era Madness, and despite it's gloominess is really good. 'Girls' is short, sharp and sweet - but could be any album filler track from Blur's back catalogue - in contrast with 'Believe It', which is classic Buster Shuffle and could fit in easily on either of their previous albums. 'Put Up' has a wistful tone, tinged with sadness and reminds me of Supergrass (which is no bad thing), and this would be a strong number to finish the album with but two bonus tracks are included for good measure - 'Hound' and 'On Our Way' - although personally I feel the album does not need these tracks. Despite their newfound maturity and sense of direction, 'Naked' lacks the punch and cockney wide boy charm of their debut and follow-up albums. But that is not to say that this is a bad album - far from it. It's more of a slow burner and improves with repeated listens. It's a shame that they could not recapture the same level of cheeky charm from the band's early days, but Buster Shuffle are no longer naive newcomers with three albums and so much touring on their belt, and it is only to be expected that a certain amount of cynicism creeps in with age. Buster Shuffle's main strength has always been in their live performances, onstage swagger and sense of humour, and I for one cannot wait to see them incorporate this new material into their exciting shows.

Track Listing:-
1 South
2 New Money
3 Naked
4 Devon
5 Take Him Down
6 I Wrote This Song Because My Girlf
7 It's OK Because the Kids Are Fashio
8 Girls
9 Believe It
10 Home
11 Put Up

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