The sleazy man's Leonard Cohen
Jessie Atkinson
16:00 13th March 2020

More about:

It’s pleasing to hear an artist find the final iteration of their voice. Baxter Dury has surpassed the excellence of his previous records and found a comfortable resting spot with The Night Chancers, which is a kaleidoscope of contemporary characters channeled impeccably through smart verse and its pleasing surround sound of electro-funk and francophile pop. Baxter Dury is the sleazy man's Leonard Cohen. 

“Some people like to show, some people like to watch, and I like to watch too much” he says atop strobe electronics and mournful strings on ‘I’m Not Your Dog’, skewering - or perhaps just observing - the problems with social media. And yet, there is no judgement. From Dury, there is only observation.

A man of many faces, Dury is able to shrug on the sheep’s clothing of any number of modern fiends. ‘Slumlord’ drags its way through a mire of underworld slime, ‘Saliva Hog’ grovels for attention and ‘Sleep People’ slurs about the bittersweet life of being a fashion blogger. Whether hammy, Disney villain or sincere, Dury’s performance is eminently believable - and enjoyable - in each. 

As ever, the female vocals that feature throughout Dury’s tunes serve to counteract his own coarse drawl. The effect is magnificent, drawing out the landscape in which Dury operates and colouring it in. Slinky bass, soaring orchestra and trilling synths also serve to lift the mood, adding stage dressing, hair and make-up, and mise-en-scene to Dury’s acting masterclass. 

The Night Chancers presents a storyboard of modern-day villains, but does not smirk or gloat at them. It merely watches and assimilates. Alongside its pleasing soundtrack of French pop, electronica and disco, Baxter Dury has settled on a unique formula that works. 

The Night Chancers is released on 20 March 2020 via Rough Trade Records. 

Issue Two of the Gigwise Print magazine is on sale now! Buy it here.

More about: