In a time when we’re all looking for a new artist to binge on you’d be hard-pressed to find a more worthy candidate than Baxter Dury. The son of singer Ian Dury, Baxter has been an idol of the underground scene for many years now. His new album The Night Chancers is just another notch on the bedpost.
It must’ve been difficult as a young musician with a notorious rock and roll father but Dury handled it better than most. Always happy to engage with fans about his father and his influential band The Blockheads, Baxter has always maintained a distinguished distance from his father’s work. Instead, he took his inherited passion for creativity and ran into the night. Screaming.
So if you’re looking to kill a few hours by getting to know an artist back to front, Dury’s six studio records act as volumes of his life experiences. Essential listening. Particular favourites Happy Soup and It’s A Pleasure suggested that the pop creator was only getting better with age and his last album Prince of Tears with the spinning confirmation of that fact.
It’s a run of records that have not only seen Dury ascend to new respected and influential heights but also given him a hard act to follow on new album The Night Chancers. Luckily, equipped with his dry wit, his impeccably observed lyrics, and undeniable ear for an underhanded beat, Dury has once again excelled in the shadow of golden pop. At times shining, at times cold but always heavy enough to cave your head in.
It’s hard to pick out a single aspect that moves this record up to the top shelf. Dury’s growling vocal, growing more and more disdainful with age, has become a notable accent in the world of pop. He doesn’t disappoint on the album with “I’,m not your fucking friend” being almost the first words that greet you on the opener, ‘I’m Not Your Dog’.
In the track, Dury takes potshots at modernity and the endless scrolling of life in 2020. It’s a target he once again takes aim at on ‘Carla’s Got A Boyfriend’. Perhaps with a vision of the bleak future ahead title track ‘Night Chancers’ acts as a brutal view of a life with increasingly less connection with one another. But it’s still marginally better than the sullen shine of fame Dury has experienced on occasion and expressed in ‘Sleep People’.
The record may feel a touch on the gloomy side, that is what Dury has become accustomed to delivering, by while moments of joy appear on songs like ‘Daylight’ even the moody moments are shared with a smirk. A groove that permeates every track is enough to keep this album in the intellectual Venn diagram, rather than being the slamming door of an angsty teen.
The Night Chancers is another shining example of Dury’s continued pursuit of creative endeavour. While he’s certainly finding his own rhythm, a kind of beating poetry that you hear being muttered on the back of the night bus, the beats are bruised with modern life and shaped by the world around him. It’s another triumph.