Since the death of The Libertines, the spirit of Cockney sham-rock has withered somewhat. Babyshambles, Little Man Tate and even Dirty Pretty Things haven’t really matched expectations, even for those of us who didn’t expect much anyway, but the word is Larrikin Love are different.
After their previous single ‘Downing St. Kindling’ took a swipe at both the government and England itself, there seemed to be hidden depth to the increasingly popular quartet. But any hopes of a similar experience with 'Happy As Annie' are thwarted in the first fifteen seconds. At the outset, a stereotypical _do-si-do_ country bassline appears over uptempo snare rolls, eventually joined by banjos and a quietly buzzing hive of violins disturbingly reminiscent of Rednex. Edward Larrikin enters to distribute vocals reallyquicklyoverthetop, with his tale of corpse discovery and chorus line of “I’m choked with fear” sharply contrasting with the cheeky, chirpy tone it’s delivered in.
The chorus itself is a masterclass in irritation. From Larrikin’s “Children, please beware!” to the ska-punk breakdown (a little too much like Spunge) and the subsequent descent into punky Fratellis madness, ‘Happy As Annie’ exposes itself as fun and catchy, but really just annoying two-dimensional chart fodder.
Thankfully, it’s not all bad. As a throwaway, superficial ska-pop song it’s near-perfect in its construction, and at a brief two minutes in length it’s hardly even long enough to be truly hated. For every person averse to this, there’ll be someone to welcome it with open arms and it’ll sell by the lorry-load. But if this signals the revival of ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe’, don’t say you weren’t warned.
5ben marwood's Score