Welcome to the South Easy
Big Toast got in touch with me this morning to ask if I write reviews. He’s trying to get coverage for the new album by his compadre Jack Diggs (Blue Rain! Out soon!) It was a little bit bittersweet having to reply that, yes, I’ve been writing a semi-regular column for The Wire magazine and I usually manage to sneak three or four UK albums in there but I wrote a review of The Wedding Fund and it got cut.
He asked to see the junked review and straight off I panicked. I never did find out why it was cut so there’s every chance it could have been terrible piece of writing. Reading it back now it’s not so bad, a bit pompous and it doesn’t quite do justice to one of the best albums to come out this year but capturing such artistic genius in mere words is a tough job. I tried. Rather than send it direct to him I thought I’d stick it up here for public ridicule. I’m nice like that.
Buy the album now.
The Wedding Fund
Croydon’s self-professed “old cunt” rapper Big Toast apparently doesn’t earn enough at his day job to pay for a wedding. This is hardly surprising given a go-slow attitude unlikely to endear him to management. “Long as I do less work than they pay me for/Then I’m winning” he explains on “Waste Days”, making it clear his priorities lie elsewhere, “if it’s mindless work I can daydream more”. His delivery is upfront without being brash, confident enough to let listeners vicariously vent taboo sentiments. The Wedding Fund is a straightforwardly descriptive title, the album serves as an actual fund-raiser for his upcoming nuptials. He re-assures us on the intro “My New Record” that it “ain’t an album of love tunes” but in its own roundabout way it’s actually a deeply romantic set. Rather than introspection the prospect of life as a married man serves as a catalyst for a fresh understanding of society, his lowly place in it and most importantly the chance of positive change. At one point on “Sheep” when after wondering if “progress and anything good we were blessed with was just an unfortunate blip they corrected” he admits “I stopped caring, the facts depressed me” but his fiancé talked him out of the torpor. “Thankyou to Mrs Toast”, he concludes, “I used to have none now I have just a little hope”. It’s the most inspiring moment on a strangely uplifting album.