ALBUM REVIEW: Beans On Toast – The Inevitable Train Wreck (BOT Music)

Beans On Toast is the stage name used by British folk singer Jay McAllister from Braintree, Essex, who rose to prominence out of the UK folk scene in 2005.

He’s a clever songwriter specialising in incisive social commentary, with his favoured topics including life, love and politics. This is his 11th studio album, released, as has become traditional, on his birthday, December 1.

He’s become something of a cult figure, touring with the likes of Frank Turner, Skinny Lister and Flogging Molly, but this record is something of a departure from his usual method of operation.

For a start, it’s a collaborative effort with Lewis and Kitty Durham from the family band Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, and secondly it’s surprisingly upbeat given the subject matter – environmental change and the worryingly bleak future of the human race.

The tone of the album is set by opening track and lead single World Gone Crazy, a fast-paced rock ‘n’ roll tune which points out “everywhere you look there’s another catastrophe”.

Beans On Toast. Pic: Gary Welford.

Elsewhere, Rich vs Poor is a bluesy number about the wars of the future, which slams “a handful of rich cunts not answerable to anyone”, and Extinction No. 6 bemoans the environmental chaos our children will inherit due to rapid climate change.

Saying Thank You to Robots is a ska-tinged song about the rise of artificial intelligence, England, I Love You addresses the rise of unelected PM Boris Johnson and the uncertainty of Brexit.

On a slightly lighter note, Take Your Shit Home With You is a self-explanatory plea to festival-goers, while Lost Poetry Department is a jaunty ditty about the day he lost his beloved guitar  – “there was no one else to blame, the day I left Martin on the train” .

The closing On & On takes us back to a more familiar Beans sound – back on the acoustic guitar and finding hope with lyrics like “There’s never been a safer time to be a human being, there’s less wars than ever before, less disease and less famine/Obesity claims more lives than starvation, more people die from old age than lack of medication”. Long live Beans On Toast. 7/10.

Gary Welford owner