Sarandon Sarandon’s Age of Reason Oddbox/ Slumberland
Article written by
Ged M - Mar 28, 2011
Sarandon’s Age of Reason
Indie concept albums? The two ideas sound irreconcilable but this actually works pretty well thanks to some sharp songwriting, some great narration by the legendary Shend (of Very Things’ fame) and the sort of jerky pop moves that a body makes when being resuscitated with a paramedic’s defibrillation paddles. Sarandon formed in 2003 but their roots date to the 80s (band members were previously in Big Flame and the Colgates), in a scene spawned by the side of the C86 cassette that was all fast and spiky arrhythmic pop, and there’s plenty of that here.
In between Big Trev’s tale of his journey from zero to some form of hero (weirdly, he sounds just like John Peel’s old producer John Walters), there are songs – frenzied, clattering pop songs. But this isn’t opera: Big Trev’s narrative acts as a breather between the rhythmic mayhem of the songs and reinforces the mood. Written by The Shend himself, these tales are occasionally sad but usually blackly funny (“they don’t make clothes like that in my size”) and leave you agreeing with the band on the chorus of ‘Big Trev’: “we like Big Trev!” Meanwhile the music provides its own commentary, from the zig-zag wanderings of ‘Perky’ to the angular urgency of ‘Mustn’t Grumble’ and ‘Dinosaur’s almost funky, bass-propelled onslaught. In an era of downloading this lends itself more to hearing as a piece, but the football chant rhythms of ‘Piglet’ stand out, the optimistic atmosphere reflected in the superspeed indiepop.
It takes a couple of listens to adjust to the excitable rhythms and clanging guitars, and to fully understand the relationship between Big Trev and the songs around him, but once you do, it’s a huge buzz of quintessentially English pop that makes our small hero into a big deal.