# 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

Slice of Life - Love and a Lamp-post

  by Owen Peters

published: 18 / 1 / 2015

Slice of Life - Love and a Lamp-post
Label: Overground Records
Format: CD


Occasionally moving but often monotonous album from Slice of Life, the new project of Crass's Steve Ignorant

Slice of Life was formed, we are told, when its founder Steve Ignorant, along with Carol Hodge and Pete Wilson were stranded in Sydney 2011, due to the Chile ash cloud. Ignorant has previous. Along with Penny Rimbaud they formed the anarcho-punk band Crass in 1977. In fact the concept and range of songs stayed with him until 2011, at which point he closed the chapter on Crass with a farewell gig at Shepherds Bush Empire in November of that year. “Some years ago,” Ignorant recalls “I read a book called 'Brighton Rock'. I always wanted to create an album that would have the same effect on people." The novel 'Brighton Rock' was written by the iconic author Graham Greene, and published in 1938. Over the years its cult status has grown with film and theatre adaptations around the world. Set in Brighton it tells of murder, exploring a culture of anger, desolation and hopelessness. If your siblings ever come home saying Pinkie is their new role model, leave the country. Most of the album is either the spoken word or vocals which sound as if they are taken from a theatre production. When the timing and ambience is set correctly, some of the songs work well. 'Eleven Chimneys' has wonderful poetic metronome lines, and is supported well by Carol Hodge on piano and backing vocals. The lyric “Then you glass it in my face as you were screaming” is a reminder that when he tries to complete the monotony of domestic duties it’s never enough. 'The Home Coming' is Ignorant at his descriptive best, explaining what’s in front of him. It tells of a son returning to attend a funeral and with it raises all the reasons he left. His prose dunks us bang in the centre of a universe we pretend doesn't exist. Tired people, empty dreams, disused shops, rubbish dumped in public places. The fear and tension of coming home is captured and expressed uncomfortably well. 'Here We Stand' is simple enough, asking “There must be more than this/Reaching out for some rhyme or reason to it all.” Along comes Dave Land on trumpet and brings a poignancy to to the lyrics only a wind instrument can provide. He gets 15 seconds maximum, makes it into a decent track and is never heard on the album again. What’s all that about? So why don’t we have more of the same? I can’t understand why there is so little additional instrumentation on the album. 'Slice of Life' doesn’t work for me. Too many lines sound as if they have twelve words to a sentence instead of ten, resulting in a disrupted rhythm again. What we hear is a brief snapshot of flamenco-stringed influences. Great...that lasts five seconds, not so great. The album has its moments, but is doesn’t have enough tracks which differ in content and style. It’s an unfortunate decision that piano, trumpet, acoustic guitar weren’t all used to better effect. A pity and a missed opportunity.

Track Listing:-
1 Love and a Lamp-post
2 Killing Time
3 Happy Hour
4 You
5 Here I Stand
6 Eleven Chimneys
7 The Way Things Are
8 The Home Coming
9 Slice of Life

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