Overall Score: 8.5/10 Songwriting – : 9/10 Vocals - : 7/10 Serotonin Boost - : 10/10 Pros: An album that can make you feel good about yourself by a songwriter who still feels like “a bloke down the pub” Cons: Guest vocal didn’t really add anything and some of the cheeky humour of his earlier albums is missing
Like a lovechild of Frank Turner and Billy Bragg raised on the fields of Glastonbury, Beans On Toast has been churning out his particular brand of storytelling since 2005, supporting big names up and down the country on top of his own tours, festival appearances and book writing.
Beans On Toast’s latest release Survival Of The Friendliest, doesn’t stray into any new territory. Fans enjoy his musical style, but one thing that jumps out about this album is how chock full of positive messages it is. As the planet begs for 2022 to give us all a break from the last two years, it’s very much needed.
Opening with A Beautiful Place, Beans On Toast doesn’t tell us to stop and look around, but see things from other people’s point of view instead. It pushes you to realise you might not know what’s going on with others; the classic reiterated mental health awareness message that is often put out on social media.
Not Everybody Thinks We’re Doomed sees our raconteur explain how the world is unpredictable, but everyone is essentially born good. The Commons tells the 1% if they “don’t take down the fence, we’ll hop over it anyway”.
The album reaches a peak with Let’s Get Married Again. A beautiful ode to love where the listener is taken through a proposed (no pun intended) re-wedding day blow by blow, with name drops to friends and declarations of undying love that every woman wants to hear and every man wants to feel.
It’s easy to see how Beans On Toast could be a “marmite” artist, who people will either love or hate, but that’s part of the appeal. Those who buy tickets for his shows or head to The Avalon Stage at Worthy Farm, know that they with a fellow group of people who get it.
Apples features a guest vocal from Dizraeli, who adds a rap which unfortunately falls short of the mark. The tempo, rhythm, and voice aren’t different enough to stand out or to add a new dimension.
Album closer Love Yourself is a piano led ballad, complete with strings, once again pushing that message of positivity, not to beat yourself up and “if you want to be happy, you have to learn to be kind”.
As the song ends and thus the album, it’s hard to ignore the wave of calm it’s caused as a faint hint of a smile slowly starts to form, right before a finger unthinkingly reaches out to start track one again.
Survival Of The Friendliest is available now via Bot Music.