Superman Revenge Squad Band
Fear of people’s umbrellas. Being a private detective for the love of it. Checking email 62 times. Ben Parker’s ragged and weary lyrics are overly literary and specific in ways that can be unexpected.
He recounts the irrational fears he had when he was a child, the feeling he had when watching Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, the experience of coming across a Henry Rollins CD in a store, his sometimes preference for Anthrax over Bob Dylan, and his memories from the 90s (like listening to REM’s Automatic for the People 1,000 times, and wondering why anyone would ever quote Joey from Friends.)
The analogies he makes and the pop culture references he uses, create a stage that sort of feels like the cluttered bedroom of a disaffected teen from Clinton’s America (even though Ben Parker is clearly as British as can be, right down to being obsessed with America). These analogies at first seem ridiculous, but he sticks with them for so long that you end up believing in them earnestly. Examples include comparing himself to Paulie from the Rocky series; late period REM being a metaphor for middle age; and the following strange and heartbreaking description of a relationship falling apart: “If you leave me / I’ll be left like Public Enemy without Flavor Flav / It’d still be functional / and records would still sell / after all Chuck D is the main man / We’d get through this somehow/ But I don’t think I’d want to fight the power without you / By myself.”
I find myself rewinding songs to make sure “he just said that, right?” He is a more desperate John Darnielle, a more serious early Beastie Boys, a more delicate version of Minor Threat.
The songs are presented in the form of a list from a journal, but the content often surpasses being cluttered and instead becomes naked and desperate and honest and needy enough to be compelling. There is something voyeuristic involved. He lets us read the margins of his notebooks and assures us that, “No, you are not the only weirdo who feels this way.”
Label: Audio Antihero
Next Show: TONIGHT! Thursday 27 February 2014 8:00pm – Freedom of Expression at The Oval Tavern in Croydon, England
Best Track: “Flava Flav”