If gentle and quaint are crimes, then Today’s New Band, The Voluntary Butler Scheme, are such career criminals they may as well be wearing stripey jumpers and carrying bags marked ‘Swag’. These traits are not the wishy-washy characteristics they might always seem. In the right hands, they become the perfect tools to squeeze the most basic and endearing feelings out of their audience.
The Voluntary Butler Scheme, then, are dexterous in the extreme. Crazed and cute love couplets, plus persistent handclaps, and a cheap ‘n’ cheerful guitar chunter appear in one song: Trading Things In is a song to warm your cockles and leave you charmed by the smallest things in life. Lyrics like”If you were broccoli I’d turn vegetarian for you” and “If you bought running shoes, as out of breath as I’d get, I’d buy running shoes too,” don’t grow on trees, you know.
Tabasco Sole, driven by a guitar jangle that hints at and out-shimmers ABC by the Jackson Five, skips and bounces with delight: a kitchen sink love song that’s so desperate to embrace the world that the sounds themselves spring out of the speakers and have a damn good go.
It’s further proof that The Voluntary Butler Scheme are incapable of writing songs other than breathless exhortations of the world itself. Fasten your belts tightly – they’ll charm your pants right off. Listen here!
photo by Mark Sherratt