ALBUM REVIEW: Beans On Toast – Knee Deep In Nostalgia/The Unforeseeable Future | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Released: 01.12.20






Image by Aaron Parsons

2020 is a defining moment for Beans On Toast. Not only does Beans hit the milestone of 40, but he also establishes his place as a modern-day folk pioneer in the truest sense, with not one, but two contrasting albums marking the special occasion. A tale of before and after, past vs. present, escapism vs. a gritty reality check. The first offering, Knee Deep in Nostalgia, is a reminiscence of past experiences and memories, whereas The Unforeseeable Future is an honest and resonating social commentary charting the course of the pandemic.

Knee Deep in Nostalgia is a feel-good, full band affair featuring Frank Turner and friends. Starting with the funky disco organ sound of The Village Disco layered with guitar, drums and folk-driven storytelling, with a raucous barn-storming chorus, before heading on to school with Favourite Teacher. There is the pedal steel guitar country homage to Willie Nelson in What Would Willie Do? followed by tales of Australian cousins and Camden Town in the 2000s. Pop ballad Album of the Day proves a highlight, a melodious and heartfelt song about Beans’ relationship with his daughter and their time together dancing to LPs in the living room. His daughter even contributes a line to the end of the track, in a very cute moment.

The Unforeseeable Future is the soundtrack to the pandemic; witty, honest and relatable, from the opening of Strange Days to the upbeat and hopeful final track, Patience. Stripped-back and raw, Beans captures the intricacies of one-way queues, hand sanitiser, panic buying and the mixed messages from the establishment. It is relatable on so many levels. Glastonbury Weekend looks at some of the ways that we have tried to make up for lost experiences and togetherness, swapping a weekend in a field for Zoom quizzes, FaceTime and Billy Bragg live on his settee. Yes, there are more important things, but humans are social creatures. The last year has highlighted both the good and bad of humanity, showing how people can pull together even in bad times. Just have a little hope and patience and remember “What really makes the world go round is generosity”.


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