MJ Hibbett & The Validators are another band who are very much about their lyrics and this is very much in evidence on this, their third album. Lead track Being Happy Doesn’t Make You Stupid is a knockabout indie pop tune, with weird interference. It’s difficult not to think of Half Man Half Biscuit, especially when they break into a chorus of “hey there emo boy, give us all a smile”. Do The Indie Kid is the Time Warp for non-indie kids, affectionately sending up their dancing. Do More, Eat Less is a disturbed Muppet Show theme tune, with an upbeat chorus. Vocals are buried deep in the verses, meaning the chorus attracts more attention. It’s weird and wonderful. Its when you get to Best Behaviour you realise how much Mark can sound like Eddie Argos at times, those great affected, sometimes surprised vocals which are also over accentuated and with lots of gaps for effect. It’s a good thing, and he retains enough of his own character to make it endearing. We Can Start Having Fun starts out all mournful and although the lyrics are optimistic it sounds sorry for itself. There’s then a celebratory awakening, brass and shimmering guitars and swaying teary eyed vocals. Red Black Gold rocks out, and goes over the top with bells on when we get to the chorus. It then turns into a waltz about Morrissey lyrics and rocks out at the end only to be covered by radio interference. My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once reminds me so much of I, Ludicrous. It tells the perils of someone reliving his past glories through a following in the far east, to a rattling melody. Has the tale of an impossible office romance every sounded as sad and sweet as It Only Works Because You're Here? Probably not, its maudlin country in its heart, but indie pop in its clothes. And it has a cool wonky chorus too. We’re Old And We’re Tired (And We Want To Go Home) is my favourite on the album, a roustabout tune that would make a great pub singalong for those sensitive and long in the tooth. And it’s all about having an early night. Leicester’s Trying To Tell Me Something has that slow early Mary Chain drumbeat, the sad lyrics of a musical past disappearing to the cost of development, a vented wall of fuzzed guitars now and again and the tear jerking vocal. Regardez, Ecoutez Et Repetez is a very fine album indeed.
Regardez, Ecoutez Et Repetez is out now on Artists Against Success
MJ Hibbett & The Validators website is here