Brian, I’m A Genius Too – Joe Innes and the Cavalcade

Brian, I'm a genius too. A sniping claim once thrown down in the studio by Beach Boy dad Murray Wilson and the new EP from Joe Innes and the Cavalcade.

People, especially musicians, of a certain age love the thud and crackle as the needle hits the vinyl of their favourite record. Other people, perhaps more swayed by blogs and the trappings of pop culture, spent their youth high speed dubbing and enduring that high pitched warble as you fast forwarded through a TDK90 cassette.

Despite the name of Joe Innes and the Cavalcade’s latest record conjuring up images of fraught sessions at big old sound desks, we’re drawn in by that familiar old 90s sound, which gives way to a Mumfordian guitar romp with riffs borrowed from ‘Little Lion Man’ and lyrics on loan from Gloria Gaynor. ‘Wake The Dead’ gets over its initial obvious comparisons, letting rip into a track that can only be described as glorious gypsy, disco, folk.

‘Attaboy’ is razor sharp and contemporary though laced with tales and soundbites from the late 60s. There’s even a namecheck for fellow anti-folkers The Worry Dolls before ‘God Only Knows I Tried’ strips everything back displaying the musical intricacies and subtle harmonies that can get a little lost in the mix sometimes. Less laden with Brian Wilson references are ‘Fables’ and ‘Half Gone’; the latter of which is a hugely accomplished tune. Orchestral. Moody. Dark and brooding. The perfect downer before the joyous EP closer.

The record’s title of course is taken from the drunken bickering between Murray Wilson and his son Brian during some turbulent Beach Boys’ studio sessions. At one point in Murray’s rants he can be heard to instruct the band to:

Quit screaming and start singing from your hearts. You’re doing fine now.

Fittingly, that’s in many ways what Joe Innes and band have done here. Void of unnecessary shouts and roars, it’s melodic and heartfelt and as the album closes with the one minute long ‘Laughing Gas’ we’re gifted visions of old movies, new summer loves and the urge to rewind the tape and start this all over again.

Buy ‘Brian, I’m A Genius Too’ by Joe Innes and the Cavalcade on Bandcamp.