ALBUM REVIEW Artist: Lotzie Weaver Album: Bankers, Politicians and Other Subject Matter Website: lotzieweaver.co.uk
When you pick up a CD called Bankers, Politicians and Other Subject Matter you more or less know what to expect from the songs on it, and in this respect the second album from Lotzie Weaver is true to form. Bankers, politicians (national and local), students, councils, hypocrites, the rich – they’re all exposed to the Weaver treatment, and none comes out unscathed. Some of the songs can, on the face of it, sound a little preachy but take the time to listen again and you’ll find heart and soul in them, and a depth that’s often overshadowed by the humorous elements. They’re not all deep, however, and some are just plain silly. But that’s all right – I like silly! People In Council Houses is a song of solidarity, with the catchy refrain of “you’re not the only one” ringing true for anyone considering the injustices of local politics. Cash Not Class rips into the class system saying that just because someone’s got money doesn’t mean that they’re any better, or of a higher class, than those with less money. Well said, that man. Plastic World is a lilting ballad about wanting to be the same as everyone else and the pressure to conform. It’s reminiscent of Plastic Man by The Kinks, although unlike Ray Davies’ happy pop ditty Lotzie’s version ends with the message that we don’t have to be the same as everyone else if we want to be happy and free. University Challenged takes a pot shot at students, and how they get up his nose for a variety of reasons. With the current pro-student, pro-university, anti-cuts, anti-government movement sweeping the country it’s interesting to see things from a different perspective when it comes to those studying at academic universities rather than those enrolled at the University of Life.
Whereas there are many who wouldn’t entirely agree with Lotzie’s opinions on students, his song Banker will undoubtedly attract a much wider level of support following the financial crisis and the public bailout. Don’t listen to The Worry Song if you’re of a nervous disposition – I never knew there were quite so many things to worry about!
Bankers, Politicians and Other Subject Matter is very much an album of two halves, with Me Without You kicking off a much mellower flip side. This is an atmospheric lament that uses humour to great effect and shows off Lotzie’s undoubted skill as a songwriter. “Me without you is like jam and cream without the scone, like Hermione without Ron, like a prize that no-one’s won, like the Earth without the sun, that’s me without you.” With Stone Throwers we find a tale about a policeman who falls in love with a prostitute, and the subsequent events that unfold – a powerful look at prejudice and hypocrisy.
Affectionate Love is a five and a half minute summary of Lotzie’s kaleidoscope of friends in rhyme – “My friend Stan no longer wants to be a man. My friend Marie is 103.” – you get the idea? We should accept our friends for who they are, and hope that they do the same to us! Next we get a list of all the things that the government and big business can do to put us down, but at the end of the day They Can’t Stop Ya laughing.
Inure World could have been sponsored by the Oxford Rhyming Dictionary as it rattles through all the ways that the powers that be put us down and keep us in our place. You Are My Life is a gentle love song with a twist that creeps up on the listener and brings a smile to the face of even the most hardened of cynics.
Does Nobody Give A Damn (about anybody else)? is gentle look at people who are selfish and self-important, only thinking about themselves. Given the tone of the second half of the album, The Toilet Song is a curious choice of final song and would have been better suited to the earlier in the running order. It’s all about Lotzie getting caught short and desperately needing the toilet, and doesn’t have a political point or a moral, unless the moral is to always have a spare coin handy!
With Lotzie Weaver we find a musician who’s writing songs that say what lots of other people are also thinking but haven’t got the ability or opportunity to communicate. The lyrics are firmly rooted on the left side of the political playing field, and reflect real life experiences and a view of the world that so many others share, all mixed together with a keen sense of humour. Long may it continue!
Graham Holland is the owner and editor of the Liverpool Acoustic website, and runs Liverpool Acoustic’s award-winning live music events with local musician Stuart Todd. In real life he’s a Web Development Officer, has been producing podcasts on a regular basis since July 2006, and runs a number of websites for other organisations. He lives in Wavertree with his husband and their cat Xiao Hei.