Originating as a solo endeavour, Insecure Men sees Fat White Family’s Saul Adamczewski and Childhood’s frontman Ben Romans-Hopcraft coming together for one of 2018’s most intriguing debuts. Both bringing a wealth of ideas and experience from a variety of different projects, will this be another success in their growing portfolios or a mishap that should have never existed to begin with?
Beginning with ‘Subaru Nights’, this woozy synth opener blossoms like a perfect delicate flower. However on closer inspection, there’s already a few dead petals present and this is just the start of the descent into the David Lynchian world of Insecure Men.
Lyrically, Insecure Men aren’t here to avoid sensitive or eyebrow-raising subject matters. One of the record’s more, let’s say, intriguing cuts is ‘Cliff Has Left The Building’. A gorgeous sounding track that features a syrupy bassline and a fluttering saxophone that’ll leave you incapacitated, it also contains the line “Cliff Richard sure looks pretty / And he runs his fingers through my hair” (we’ll let you mull that one over yourself). This is then followed by ‘Whitney Houston and I,’ a track which lyrically delves into the raw and unnerving similarities between the deaths of Whitney and her daughter Bobbi. This is a record that wants you to listen.
And listen you should. ‘All Women Love Me’ is a serene and nostalgic blast of Beach Boys balladry, while the awkward pop of ‘I Don’t Wanna Dance (With My Baby)’ is a refreshing and honest delight. Lead single ‘Teenage Toy,’ a brilliant pop track about adolescence and rebellion that ends in a soaring crescendo of lavish instrumentation, is an album highlight and one the best tracks you’ll hear this year.
The menacing ‘Mekong Glitter,’ a squelching and bombastic track about Gary Glitter that has Saul lamenting “Why? Don’t you ever ask why?,” is Insecure Men at their wickedly catchiest. This is then later juxtaposed by ‘The Saddest Man In Penge,’ which contains a joyous and uplifting brass section alongside some sombre lyrical content.
In the lead up to the record, Saul summed the project as “pretty music with a dark underbelly to it.” And while this is 100% true, what makes Insecure Men’s debut so great is that this “pretty music” has been wonderfully crafted into a brilliant set of pop songs. With its themes giving the listener the desire to actually pay attention to what being said, rather than just zoning out to the album’s ear-worming melodies, ‘Insecure Men’ is no doubt one of 2018’s best debuts.
Words: Liam Egan
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