You couldn’t create an album with less female appeal than this if you’d tried. What other men try to conceal beneath the periscope hood of ageing parkas, Mark John Hibbett proudly thrusts into the open. All of blokedom is on offer here from Linux to DIY. Hibbett’s mission in life is to pounce on the dullest of subject matter, hold it up to the glaring light – blackheads n’ all — and pronounce it good.


You may have heard of him. He enjoyed success a while back with a song about the ZX Spectrum home computer. “Hey Hey 16K” was picked up by an internet animation site from whence it went (a bit) viral and onto BBC 6 Music, which frankly tells you all you need to know about that station’s audience. A bit of John Cooper-Clarke blokiness is fine but on “Regardez, Ecoutez Et Repetez” the alright-me-ol’-mucker chuminess all too often verges into irony-free overload. “All The Good Men” finds Hibbett railing against women who complain about the lack of decent men without – shock – first having the decency to sample his type of omega-male: “I drew them a map. To show them where to find a decent chap. Like record shops and Computer Fairs. There’s loads of lovely fellas there . . going spare.” As someone who spent more than 15 years at ever-increasing levels of geekiness in the IT industry I can tell you ladies that the image you have in your head of the type of bloke who goes to computer fairs and CAMRA meets is exactly right. Hold it for a moment — seared into your consciousness? Now avoid. Like the plague. Quite a catchy tune though.

With the exception of the almost tender “One of The Walls of My House Fell In” metaphors are refreshingly absent. However, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered an album where every track title, no matter how cumbersome, is unrelentingly crowbarred kicking and screaming into the chorus: “My Boss Was in an Indie Band Once” really starts to grate after you’ve heard the phrase for the fifth time.


10 Comments so far

  1. ray on April 27, 2009 6:40 pm

    this is a spectacularly myopic review. congratulations!

  2. Mel Hall on April 27, 2009 10:31 pm

    “I can tell you ladies that the image you have in your head of the type of bloke who goes to computer fairs and CAMRA meets is exactly right”

    As a ‘lady’ (who, miraculously ,has rid the shackles of the kitchen sink), and is also a member of CAMRA (blimey, they drink pints too!) I can happily say, what utter tosh!

  3. Ed on April 27, 2009 11:02 pm

    I got the single ‘Do the indie kid’ a while ago, pre album release and to me that is a great catchy song. I cant say ‘All the good men’ is my fave either, however I think this review is a bit ungenourous to say the least.. ‘Hey Hey 16K’ its true is the ‘famous’ song by MJ Hibbett, but I think Lesson of the Smiths got as much airplay ! I guess Im a fan of his stuff anyway though, I should’nt review it !

  4. Samina Malik on April 27, 2009 11:07 pm

    Someone once described critics as being like eunuchs in a harem- they could watch it, they could report on it, but they were jealous cause they couldn’t actually do it. So I’ve got you pinged then LOL

  5. Steve Dresden on April 28, 2009 9:44 am

    Great review! It’s made me want to buy it anyway.

    Anything that annoys someone with a vanity website so much that he has to write a 300 word review rather than just say…not bother…has got to have something going for it!

  6. Andy on April 29, 2009 1:01 pm

    Oh dear, since MJ Hibbett himself has linked to this review on his website I fear you may be getting a good deal more messages like those above. I’m a huge Hibbett fan and disagree with most of what you’ve written here but you’re entirely entitled to your opinion and it seems to me that some of these replies amount to the same as those people who see someone has written a bad review of their favourite arthouse movie and reply “oh just go and watch ‘The Butterfly Effect’, obviously this is too intelligent for you”. For instance, though it’s quite a short review you do at least attempt to give reasons why you didn’t like certain songs. Ray replies “this is a spectacularly myopic review. congratulations!” and elaborates no further. I think it’s obvious which is the more myopic of those two posts. Steve Dresden’s reply asks why bother writing about something that annoyed you when you could just not bother. Maybe that question could be turned back around on Steve in regards to his own post. Hibbett himself has stated that this review is “fair enough”, I just wish everyone could be so gracious and even-minded when faced with opinions they disagree with.

  7. ray on April 29, 2009 7:52 pm

    i didn’t go into detail because it’s a comments board. As much as i concende the fact that i didn’t constructively-crticise the critic, i’m not going to deconstruct the review point by point. i’d rather spend my time listening to pop records, which i’ll go do now. toodles coletti et al

  8. Gary Gilmore on April 29, 2009 10:18 pm

    There’s a whole new career here slagging off male stereotypes…how about having a listen to CAMRA Man by Half Man Half Biscuit (on the ENO Colaboration EP) and “deconstructing” the themes therein?

  9. Steve Dresden on April 30, 2009 4:50 pm

    “Maybe that question could be turned back around on Steve in regards to his own post”

    and indeed yours pal

  10. Jinn-and-Tonic on May 1, 2009 10:52 pm

    Haha, don’t mess with MJ’s fanbase, they’ll deconstruct your deconstruction!

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