Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom “Never Work” (BB Island, 2020)

Initially due for release on 3rd April, this terrific album was delayed due to a global pandemic, so was pushed back to International Workers Day which, given this once in a lifetime occurrence, has made the themes herein oddly apposite. The millionaires and the billionaires have been little use in dealing with the effects precipitated by a global pandemic, and those of hitherto less socially respected roles have been the ones keeping many countries going. Capitalism is on its arse. Workers, actual workers that is, are finally being acknowledged, as is the very nature of work itself.

Cribbing from the press release accompanying this released, work is changing. Robots are replacing us. Capitalism is fracturing. With their second duo album ‘Never Work’, Ariel Sharratt and Mathias Kom ask what work songs might sound like in a future where the nature of labour itself is so uncertain and these songs are as interesting as they are enjoyable. The title track encourages us to “never work, never suffer, never tip your hat to another, never be a ma‘am or a sir” and instead enjoy walking hand in hand with your loved ones like teenagers. ‘Monitors’ will chime with anyone who’s worked in an office and may well already know that “monitors make the most beautiful sound when they smash if you know how to listen.

The brilliant ‘Everything for Everyone’ imagines a world where there is no longer work for everyone and the government is an algorithm, and everyone is lying on pavement “like that Radiohead video circa 1995”. The glorious ‘Rise Up Alexa’ will cause havoc if listened to in a room with an Echo Dot and posits the idea that Alexa ought to know its/her own wealth and never has the Goonies line “its our time down here, there time up there” ever sounded so affecting as it does in ‘The Rich Stuff’.

There a whip-smart allegory about what kind of Jeff you want to be in ‘Two Jeffs’ which boils down to either an Evil Jeff or a Virtuous Jeff, albeit with bazillions of dollars between them. Possible album highlight ‘Talking Gig Economy Blues’ is a marvel and no doubt autobiographical containing everything their parent band The Burning Hell is known for. Smart, amusing and affecting lyrics which again begs the question: why are they not more widely known? There are far less talented acts around today who are inexplicably more successful, yet lack the sincerity and intelligence Mathias Kom and Ariel Sharratt bring to everything they do, in both of their duo releases so far, and those of their band. It’s likely you’re reading this not knowing who they are and maybe even considering checking them out. Given the state of the world today, what do you have to lose?

The Burning Hell's duo release a smart, amusing and affecting record
8/10

Author: Scott Baxter

Rebel Scum. Authentic frontier gibberish.

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