Spread over eight tracks of sombre brooding melodies, The Meanest Creature Ever Known paints a bleak portrait of Glasgow, exploring a backdrop of tenement bedrooms, romantic entanglements and male neuroticism, You, Having Fun. is an exercise in minimalism with sparse instrumentation, only simple guitar and drums, flourishes of trumpet and highlights of rich harmonies from guest Joy Everest.
The production harbours an organic feel, which is perfect for the songs, melancholy number ‘I’ll Never See Glasgow Again’, captures flashbacks of everyday life from a retrospective even morbid viewpoint.
“The night I saw a stranger unclip her bra, and realise and shut the blinds,” it’s the straightforward story telling in these songs is highlight of this album, simple lyrics not dissimilar to the work of Irvine Welsh offer glances into a mundane sadness that runs through all our lives.
The band describes them selves as being sad core and there is little deviation from that mood, it is a downer of an album; the only lightness is the perhaps unintentionally humorous over the top lyrics – “take hold of my hand, tell me I’m no man, I am dying swan’’.
This is in contrast to intimate lyrics on ‘Knives’ – “I am a mess your, hand on my chest, drawing circles with your nails, and you skin’’.
The charm of this album is the diversity of imagery, from observations of the banality of life to, metaphors of King Cnut commanding the see and the biblical references on ‘Lot’, while sometimes appearing contrived such images add to the innocence and naivety that is the life of this album.
With his remarkable range, which is used in full, unusual among other male singers on the scene, the album is propelled by singer Mathew Healey’s delicate voice, the sense it could break at any moment adds an authenticity and urgency to the songs.
You, Having Fun. may at first seem monotonous, but it has a cathartic tragic beauty, which is worth sticking with.
Words: Peter Johnstone