Butch Walker & The Black Widows – The Spade

Rating: 9/10

It’s raining. I’ve had a long day, I’ve fallen out with my utilities companies and I’m in the middle of a long, slow drive. Fuck, I need a pint, or even just a hug.

On the plus side, the time has come. Butch Walker’s new album arrived in the post today, and I’m about to put it on.

I’ve never thought of any phrase with the words “pub” and “rock” in to be complimentary – often it implies a cheap, amateurish attempt at sex, drugs and the like. But in this case, I’m going to make an exception.

I do so not because this is a pub-rock album. Oh no. I do so because the album is so welcoming. It’s your friendly local on a Saturday night. The stories sound familiar, but they never grow old. Deep down, I know Butch doesn’t know me. But bloody hell, I feel like we’re sharing a cosy tipple or two.

It’s a warming album from start to finish. The tension in my back is melting away. I’m comfortable, liberated, feeling like I’ve just had-it-out with my nearest and dearest. And we’re still only halfway through. The songs are capturing my imagination, leaving my baggage free to leave through the nearest orifice.

So far, I’ve had opening single Summer of ’89 on repeat a couple of times. I defy anyone who doesn’t stand, raise a glass and sing along to this easy-going soft-rock gem.

After prostituting his qualities as a pen/producer-for-hire, Walker’s got a sparkling roster of clientele behind him, and it shows. His songs roll off the tongue and out of my speakers. I can feel their arms wrapped around me. It’s great big hug, and a wholesome one, at that.

The drive will soon be over. The album already is. But it’s going round again. And again tomorrow, I imagine. I may still need a pint, but perhaps that’s how Butch is served best – with a drink and good company. This round’s on me…

The Spade is out now on LoJinx

N.B. This review was written in October 2011. My apologies to all for the delay – the aforementioned utilities issues are as a result of moving. I’ve a backlog to shift, so please bear with me!

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