A birthday gift from Beans on Toast...
Folk singers have a long and varied history when it come to hitting middle-age. Some go electric, some find God, some record a godawful duets record but fear not Beans on Toast fans, this is not always the case.
In many ways ‘Rolling Up The Hill’ is a coming of age album. That age is 34 and we’re crashing headlong into mortgages, despairing at the vileness of corporate bankers and spending lazy Sundays in our boxers waiting for our girlfriends to get back from the shops.
If you know Beans on Toast, or Jay McAllister, as his mum probably still calls him then the topics, razor sharp wit and gravelly delivery will be of no surprise. He’s been Stateside and it shows, he’s picked up extra musicians in the husband and wife duo Truckstop Honeymoon and they’ve jumped right into the crazy world of Jay and Bobby Banjo.
We get a new Beans on Toast record each year on the 1st December. It’s Jay’s birthday and therefore somewhat apt to address the themes of ageing in such an honest and refreshingly witty way. ‘The Mudhills Crew’ opens up the record. They sound like an underage drinking, sneaking into rock shows version of the Bash Street Kids. The track is a bluesy old foot-stomper with a riff that conjures up aural images of ‘Happy Days’. That’s hardly an accident as the song romps through the “Teenage Kicks and teenage dreams” of those heady days of youth.
The present day is addressed in ‘Industrial Estate’ and in particular on the new single ‘I’m Home When You Hold Me’. The latter is Beans at his sentimental best. It’s sickeningly saccharine but delivered with an Essex charm that holds it in higher esteem than anything an Ed Sheeran or Sam Smith could ever muster. Lyrically it’s overly simplistic with its references to Sunday afternoons and trips to the Spar. This is the type of song that you feel almost any man could write when they’ve got a head full of ideas but no real clue how to say it.
As Beans on Toast grows older the records just get better.