OK, let’s get things back to normal and start a little catch-up from the tail end of last year.

It’s become something of a festive tradition for Malcolm Middleton to release something in the run-up to Christmas each year. So, as well as the ‘Quarter Past Shite’ LP discussed here previously, Malcolm also issued the first official Human Don’t Be Angry release ‘Live In Leeds’ in December.

Let’s start with the factual stuff about the CD. It features 6 songs (and one track of between song banter) but despite the fact that the HDBA full release isfairly imminent, it’s only a part preview of that record. Apparently only 2 of the songs on ‘Live In Leeds’ will be on the new LP which straight away poses an interesting question since 3 of the songs on here were also played live in December.

That fact suggests that the 3 LP candidates are 1) the lengthy instrumental, ‘Intro’, 2) the rather wonderful (and largely instrumental) ‘Asklipiio’ and 3) the not at all instrumental ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’. Perhaps the clue lies in the fact that GGG was ‘pinched’ for the Middleton set rather than the HDBA one.

But what makes this release so intriguing for me is, given how promiscuous Malcolm is with his musical styles on his ‘own’ LPs, that it partly answers the question as to how HDBA is going to be different from his other releases

It’s NOT the instrumental LP that some reports might have led you to believe but the instrumental angle appears to be key as 5 of the 6 tracks don’t feature many vocals. In that regard some parts of the record do sound a bit like Mogwai but that’s not the whole story.

Because whilst, stylistically the guitar playing on ‘Walk In The Park’ is similar to that on ‘Intro’ and ‘Asklipiio’, the song still wouldn’t sound out of place on almost any Middleton LP. And that’s very true of ‘Dreamer’, with its extended guitar coda, and closing piece ‘Monologue: River’, a mix of the instrumental stuff and classic Middleton songwriting.

I guess that it’s going to be the 4 songs that aren’t on the HDBA LP that will sell this record (whatever that they may be). As always with the Middleton fringe releases, whilst they’re not all uniformly  great, there’s actually plenty to be going on with. Whatever guise, this man writes good songs.

There’s also some reason to think that the two songs that do make it to the record will appear on there in somewhat different form. The live recording is simply Malcolm playing along with samples but apparently things have developed far more in the studio than perhaps even he expected.

All of this combines to make ‘Live In Leeds’ a worthy release in its own right – and it’s only a fiver. Here’s, for me, the stand-out track:

Buy ‘Human Don’t Be Angry – Live In Leeds’ from Malcolm’s Bandcamp. You can listen to the whole record there as well.

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