“I don’t think you realize how successful I am…” Thats from the mostly spoken word first track, Miami, off Baxter Dury’s latest album, Prince of Tears. “I don’t give a shit about you…” That’s from the mostly spoken word second track, Porcelain, with vocals by Rose Elinor Dougall (of the Pipettes). Both songs have a sense of plodding forward, struggling uphill–or perhaps, as the cover art indicates, crawling through the desert.
That feeling of isolation is somewhat broken with Mungo, but by now it’s clear that Dury will be speaking in a cockney accent for most of this album. He’s kind of singing, but not really. And the music is still slick, but has this sense of impending doom–it’s really quite interesting, and I have to listen to it twice. Once for the vocals, once for the instrumentals. It even has a guitar solo! This feels like a smoother, more indie version of punk rock. Which makes sense, given Dury’s legendary punk father. Or it’s like a less hip-hop version of Gorillaz.
I have to say: The first time I ran through a couple tracks on this album, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. But I couldn’t ignore it. And then when they popped up on shuffle a second time, I went back and listened straight through. In a world full of singles, it’s unusual to hear a proper album. Prince of Teams takes some time to get in your head, and it’s not in a hurry. Listen or don’t. It doesn’t give a shit about you. But if you take the time, if you let it earworm it’s way in, the reward is a full experience. Not a single. Not a collection of good songs with filler.