Jazz Butcher Distressed Gentlefolk

Defiantly English before Blur, resolutely droll before Morrissey, the Jazz Butcher is a neglected chapter in '80s pop. So here, at last, are the first CD editions in almost ten years of their two best albums. A Scandal in Bohemia (1984), the group's second, is where the Butcher and co-conspirator Max Eider's vision of musical pluralism and lyrical playfulness first gelled; the gorgeous jangle of "Southern Mark Smith" sitting comfortably alongside the power-skiffle of "I Need Meat" and the comic thrash of "Caroline Wheeler's Birthday Present," ("...made entirely from the skins of dead Jim Morrisons"). Distressed Gentlefolk (1986) is a masterpiece of pure pop and puerile prankster-ism in more or less equal doses. "Hungarian Love Song" and "Domestic Animal" (about a sexually frustrated house pet) are as "tongue in cheek" as an entire season of The Avengers, but the likes of "Angels," and Eider's "Who Loves You Now?" prove that the Jazz Butcher were also genuine romantics. A suspicion lingers that "they" don't write them like this anymore, and might never again. But we have these again, so no matte (Scratch)