The Puddle – Secret Holiday/Victory Blues (Fishrider) CD REVIEW

BACK IN JANUARY 2011, I wrote of The Puddle album, Playboys Of The Bush: “George Henderson’s lyrics and delivery grab you by the short and curlies: unmoderated, direct, contentious, outrageous… I’m knocked out by talent this raw, art that doesn’t concede to any commercial or aesthetic considerations… Like a punk-edged Syd Barrett who has lost, then found himself again (while remaining seriously askew), George Henderson and his Puddle have managed to squeeze out a short but potent work.”
I’m quoting myself because it’s no less true of Secret Holiday/Victory Blues, and I can’t think of a better way to write it.
Again, there’s psychedelic rock at the heart of much of this album, but nothing is straight down the line in Henderson’s world.
For instance, ‘Didn’t Even Notice You Were Gone’ is a country satire that asks: “Why are the rats so bold?” He’s not afraid to try his hand at a ballad, and paste synthesiser and violin on the same song. Henderson is a striking personality, and that comes through in his lyrics. On ‘Tender Validation’, for instance, he’s not shy in talking about his own lack of discretion, valour or sophistication when it comes to matters of the heart. It’s great, and honest.
I wish, however, that Fishrider’s budget extended to a producer, and rehearsal time, and someone to sweat over the arrangements. It’s just all so shambolic that the listener is that much less likely to take Henderson’s work seriously. And that’s the pity of it. GARY STEEL
Sound = 2.5/5
Music = 3.5/5

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