Beans On Toast - Cushty (Xtra Mile Recordings) 2017
1st December will no doubt be a date already marked in calendars belonging to fans of modest, unassuming folk. As per tradition, Beans is back again with a new album to celebrate his birthday and, while last year’s aptly titled A Spanner in the Works was a rude interruption to his acoustic ditties, Cushty sees a return to the folk-country hybrid that characterised second album Writing on the Wall.
Cushty paints a bleak view of modern society, tackling politics, social injustices and environmental atrocities, all without ever relinquishing its overriding note of optimism and positivity. Returned are the playful banjos, accordions and violins lending a jaunty swing to the music – you can almost hear whiskey sloshing in glasses and pub tables creaking under dancing feet.
His ninth studio album is a welcome return to Beans’ roots. It feels much more conversational than previous albums, with songs such as Taylor Swift sounding like a stream of consciousness and an open window into McAllister’s thoughts. Gone are the electronic elements that have crept into and even dominated recent albums, and in their place is a collection of stripped down acoustic songs, naked and honest to a fault – and that’s exactly why we fell in love with Beans On Toast in the first place.