Not many people is aware that, when Big Boy Bloater released in 2014 the album Loopy, the english artist was already struggling deeply in his battle with depression that took almost a couple of years to overcome. A battle that, thankfully, Big Boy managed to fight and win through the only antidote he really truly knows: making music.
Big Boy Bloater is not just one of the best singers/songwriters in the United Kingdom but he is also fuelled with a solid dose of dark humour and irony. The latter shines in cubical characters just by taking a look at the album title. Luxury Hobo is Big Boy's way of having a go at the spoiled way that modern society lives nowadays and the fact that after all, we all are Luxury Hobos.
The album is a celebration of Big Boy Bloater's sparkling talent and personality and The Limits provide, once again, an excellent music structure throughout the whole record. Luxury Hobo travels through different decades of music and has some really inspired moments. The opener Devils Not Angels is Big Boy's raucous and foot-stomping caution about people you meet for the first time and how to interact carefully with them. The mid-section of the tune provides a prodigious guitar riff that brings back echoes of the 60's style of Chuck Berry or Carl Perkins, showcasing once again the great ability on guitar of Big Boy Bloater.
The excursus into the rock and roll of the late 60's and early 70's does not end there. I Love You (But I Can't Stand Your Friends) recalls memories of The Stones' Sticky Fingers period, while the closing Not Cool Man has got that infectious guitar riff that made the fortune of bands like Dr. Feelgood.
It is real fun hearing how well Big Boy Bloater & The Limits stretch sonically their music formula, alternating R&B's sound layers with rock and rolls' ones. When it comes to R&B though, there are few people around able to do it like Big Boy Bloater does, not just through his great guitar skills but also through his wonderful singing voice.
Luxury Hobo Blues has the sound of the Stax period written through and through, as has All Things Considered too, with Big Boy's voice reaching its absolute peak of depth and intensity, on this particular tune. I Got The Feeling Someone's Watching Me is a playful slowed rumba and Big Boy's singing style get as close as humanly possible to Tom Waits' one.
Lyrically, there is a lot of entertainment too, thanks to the witty and eclectic Big Boy's writing style. Robot Girlfriend, one of the album's singles is a dark twist on how technology takes over the human race. It's the tale of a female robot, object of the owner's fantasies that reverses the roles in this absurd relationship and fall, in the end, for a male robot instead.
The only real shame about the album is that it clocks off after less than 40 minutes. It is though a great return to form for Big Boy Bloater & The Limits and most of all, the welcomed return to one of the most vibrant and clever entertainers and music raconteurs around.
Giovanni "Gio" Pilato
Luxury Hobo is out now and it can be purchased via Provogue/Mascot Label Group