❉ Micko Westmoreland & co.’s new single ‘(What’s in a) Name’ is sharp and witty, writes Stuart Douglas.
“‘The name we have been given and how that sits with the face that looks back at us from the mirror, that’s what this track riffs on, plays with and mixes up. It draws on class, identity, risk, regret, free will and determinism.” – Micko Westmoreland.
Obviously, lockdown was…a bit trying at times, but one thing it let me do was spend more time listening to new music. And amongst the dozens (hundreds, probably) of albums I listened to for the first time in 2020, the debut release by Micko and the Mellotronics, ½ dove, ½ pigeon, absolutely stood out. Fronted by Micko Westmoreland, formerly the creative force behind late ’90s electronic band The Bowling Green, the album was a brilliant art-rock statement of intent, and I described it in a review as “a coming together of The Jam, Blur and Arctic Monkeys… bit of Pere Ubu and even a smidgen of Half Man Half Biscuit”.
It was my undoubted album of lockdown, and I’ve been waiting for a follow-up ever since. So, I was delighted to see a little bit of PR drop into my emails this week, announcing the August release of (What’s in a) Name, the first single to come from the band’s forthcoming second album Le Vice Anglais, due to hit the shelves (and immediately make its way into my shopping basket) in November this year.
With actor and comedian Kevin (Big Train, I’m Alan Partridge, It’s Kevin) Eldon – with whom Westmoreland has worked previously in charity supergroup The Spammed– sharing vocals, the song was apparently inspired by Micko watching the DVD extras of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads (“there’s a refrain about individual’s names and how we evaluate and sometimes project into their meaning”) and Michael Apsted’s seminal documentary series 7 Up.
To quote Micko about the track, ‘The name we have been given and how that sits with the face that looks back at us from the mirror, that’s what this track riffs on, plays with and mixes up. It draws on class, identity, risk, regret, free will and determinism. There’s a great turn from Kevin Eldon, Paul Cuddeford, the band and video maker Ashley Jones.”
I’ve had an early sneak preview, and it’s exactly as you’d expect from Micko et al – spiky guitar, looping bass and a sharp, witty lyric reminiscent of Ray Davies’ work with the Kinks (there’s something of Mr Davies about Mr Westmoreland, I always think!). As a teaser for the new album, it’s got my mouth watering and my foot tapping – and what more can you ask?
❉ Stuart Douglas is an author, and editor and owner of the publisher Obverse Books. He has written four Sherlock Holmes novels and can be found on twitter at @stuartamdouglas