Don’t Need Much
‘I’ve been trying to put my pen to bed, but it’s been one of those weeks,” sings Great Cynics frontman Giles Bidder on “Moorhen.” And he’s not just using poetic license. Between a threatened lawsuit and trading in his acoustic guitar for electricity and drums, it’s no wonder Bidder has so many stories to tell—and Don’t Need Much is full of them. “Twenty Five” may be a smidgen more than three minutes long, but it’s as winding as a Bob Dylan tune, just with distortion and a healthy love for Billy Bragg. It should be too much, but Bidder’s melodic timing and British snarl makes it all sound more like a catchy pop-punk song than a long-form essay. Bidder is very much like John Darnille of the Mountain Goats or Blake Schwarzenbach of Jets To Brazil in that these are his songs, just with a band playing in the background. Some don’t translate as well as others, but even the worst songs on the album ain’t too shabby. If you love Against Me!-style anthems and Jawbreaker-esque storytelling—but you know, British—then Don’t Need Much isn’t going to leave your headphones for weeks.
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