Luke Haines - Smash the System album review: a true original loses his self-indulgence

Smash the System
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Artist: Luke Haines
Genre: Alternative
Label: Cherry Red Records

Luke Haines is best known as one of contemporary rock's most vivid outsiders, a UK songwriter with a background in surprise. Smash the System is his sixth album in seven years, and his first nonconcept work since 2009's 21st Century Man.

Changing the template is a good idea (Haines’s quartet of engaging concept albums, from 2011-2015, epitomised self-indulgence as much as oddball virtuosity). And so, with a collection of distinct songs here, he delivers usual levels of idiosyncrasy mixed with fresher subject matter and extra muscularity.

Simply put, songs such as Ulrike Meinhof's Brain Is Missing, Black Bunny (I'm Not Vince Taylor), Bruce Lee, Roman Polanski and Me, and Cosmic Man mark out Haines as equal parts Mad Hatter and true original.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture