THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF LUKE HAINES (15)

I’d like this to be considered as an early Christmas present to everyone.

Das Capital – The Songwriting Genius of Luke Haines and The Auteurs was released in 2003. Wiki states only that the album features orchestral re-recordings of some of his older songs from The Auteurs and Baader Meinhof periods, along with some new tracks.

It’s fair to say that the few who actually wrote up contemporary reviews came to differing opinions. Ben Hogwood at Music OMH said:-

“Haines comes across as the macabre balladeer, that sinister husky voice of his ever more to the fore. The expansive How Could I Go Wrong does well in this guise with the guitar line (shades of Santana?!) a majestic opener before the strings drape their treble line over the top. What’s evident here and elsewhere is that the music retains its urgency and edginess, nowhere more so than on Lenny Valentino, which still rocks, and on Showgirl, where the complete standstill half a minute in has the same powerful impact.

So what of the new material, 21st century Haines? Well Satan Wants Me is pretty self explanatory, a dirge with Haines spitting “Satan wants me, not you.” Then there’s Michael Powell, where Haines announces, “I’m just a horny devil baby, but I know how to treat a lady.” Dark alley, anyone? All of which leaves Bugger Bognor, a quietly venomous vocal highlighting similarities with Philip Larkin.

Production on Das Capital is heavy on the strings but not usually intrusive, with violins up in the heavens on Starstruck but subtly restrained on the sublime closer Future Generation. The male voice choir in the middle foreground of Baader Meinhof is a nice touch.”

On the other hand, Michael Idov at Pitchfork, in giving the album a rating of 5.1/10, states:-

“Das Capital: The Songwriting Genius of Luke Haines and the Auteurs is a primo Situationist stunt. From the title on down, it concerns itself purely with the sound of money. Fat with winds, strings, chimes, echo chambers the size of Wembley stadium and, per liner notes, “the greatest sax solo in the history of popular culture,” the album is meticulously designed to mimic fundraiser quickies like The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Plays the Music of Oasis. The result, needless to say, is patently and intentionally ludicrous; it could be one of the greatest jokes ever played on a label by an artist.

I can’t help but applaud Das Capital’s meta-architecture, which incorporates everything from the cover art to the attendant interviews filled with bragging about the project’s cost – one small quibble, however, remains: The album is unlistenable………….I would never recommend a living soul to purchase Das Capital, and yet, full marks are due to Haines for making good on the hissed mission statement from his Oliver Twist Manifesto: “You better believe me when I say/ I never wanted to be liked.”

Me? I love it. The very fact that he was able to again persuade a record label to fork out money to capitalise on the recent success of Black Box Recorder with the promise of delivering a ‘best-of’ collection has to be appluaded. The further fact that he stood and delivered something so unexpected and near impossible to market and recoup its costs was the ultimate in highway robbery. Here’s Luke Haines own words from the CD booklet:-

“I cannot afford to buy an island, but I can afford to buy a theme park, or more accurately, Hut recordings in their speculative wisdom have provided me with the neccesary to create an aural them park, HainesWorld if you like. So, dear listener, take your token, climb aboard the waltzer, and as you spin into luxuriant orchestral delirium, hear me whisper in your ear, “I’m the man you camt to see fall into the machine.” I may be paraphrasing David Essex.

Alternately, the CD you have purchased is a brand new collection of old songs re-recorded, mainly of the 92-96 vintage. Why did these songs need to be recorded again? Because they were slipping out of view. Sometimes you have to point out to people what lies in front of their noses. Does this consolidate my place in musical history? You bet.”

There’s a couple more equally entertaining and slightly tongue-in-cheek paragraphs, before Haines’ own genuinely hilarious reviews of all the albums he had released with The Auteurs or under his own steam as a solo artists. Here’s some extracts:-

New Wave – My first masterpiece…best debut album of the nineties no contest, and as seminal as the first Modern Lovers; 5 stars

Now I’m A Cowboy – OK, sometimes the artist isn’t the best judge of his work. However this one requires serious reappraisal (from yours truly at least)…The Upper Classes was (yet another) precursor to the burgeoning Brit Pop thingy. My commercial peak to date; 4 stars

The Auteurs vs. μ-Ziq – Remixes by some kid from Wimbledon for £500. A lot of money for a teenager. Never listened to it myself. Went on to sell well in America. 100% of the publishing goes to me: 5 stars

After Murder Park – The most fun I had making a record, written in wheelchair confinement. Sonically great, Albini on top form and me too. An anti-zeigeist gem. Chris Cunningham has made a career out of recycling this sleeve art. Full marks to everyone involved; 5 stars

Baader Meinhof – My second masterpiece. Buy it so that I don’t have to. A testimonial to the joys of analogue recording; 5 stars

How I Learned to Love The Bootboys – Under-rated now and at the time. Unfortunately this record cannot be reappraised due to its anti-sentimental stance; 4 stars

Christie Malry’s Own Double Entry OST – My first foray into film soundtracks and my third masterpiece; 5 stars

The Oliver Twist Manifesto – You are not allowed to make record like this anymore….and as the credits roll, I would like to thank David, Paul and all at Hut Records….I say continue your worthless work and hang your heads in shame; 5 stars.

All that’s left now are these:-

mp3 : Luke Haines & The Auteurs – How Could I Be Wrong
mp3 : Luke Haines & The Auteurs – Showgirl
mp3 : Luke Haines & The Auteurs – Baader Meinhof
mp3 : Luke Haines & The Auteurs – Lenny Valentino
mp3 : Luke Haines & The Auteurs – Starstruck
mp3 : Luke Haines & The Auteurs – Satan Wants Me
mp3 : Luke Haines & The Auteurs – Unsolved Child Murder
mp3 : Luke Haines & The Auteurs – Junk Shop Clothes
mp3 : Luke Haines & The Auteurs – The Mitford Sisters
mp3 : Luke Haines & The Auteurs – Bugger Bognor
mp3 : Luke Haines & The Auteurs – Future Generation

You better be quick, as the links will be removed on Boxing Day (26 December)

Oh, and one more thing. There was a hidden track that could only be played by holding down the rewind button when you went play track 1:-

mp3 : Luke Haines & The Auteurs – Das Capital Overture

This track includes Back With The Killer Again, The Rubettes, Housebreaker, Tombstone, Buddah, Kids Issue, Light Aircraft on Fire, The Upper Classes and Discomania. I’ll leave it hanging around for a bit longer.

This series takes a short break as next weekend will see the introduction of a temporary feature with 22 daily posts covering the entire festive period. Luke will be back on Sunday 19 January.

Oh, and I’m going to see him play live in 2020…….click here for the info!

JC

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