AFTER LAST YEAR’S mind-bending LP On The Hot Dog Streets, Lawrence (just the one name – like Sting) is close to finishing his latest transmission, entitled Mozart’s Mini-Mart.
“We recorded it on the run while looking over our shoulders,” says Lawrence, the aesthetically vigorous Quentin Crisp of indie rock, “without a budget, sustained through favours, all the way.” Long term fans of his career – from independent legends Felt in the ’80s on through glam-conceptualists Denim in the ’90s and onward to “B-side band” Go-Kart Mozart in the new millennium – would not have it any other way.
Initially imagined as a mini-LP like The Fall’s 1981 ten-inch six-tracker Slates, it grew instead to 19 songs. A sneak peek at the striking cover art reveals titles including Knickers On The Line By Three Chord Fraud, A Ding Ding Ding Ding Dong, Relative Poverty, and, relating to pop-up shops on the high street, the 35-second Gizmos Gadgets Unrok Electric Guitar Clock Tik Tok.
“There’s lots of social comment mixed in with new forms of word play,” says Lawrence. “It’s more convoluted, and lyrically difficult, without thinking about the charts.”
“There’s lots of social comment mixed in with new forms of word play,”
The big track on the record? That would be When You’re Depressed. The lyrics feature the lines, “Never cry, never laugh / Don’t clean your teeth, don’t have a bath / This constant strain, this constant stress / When you’re depressed… you’re depressed.”
“It’s special,” says Lawrence. “One of those career-defining songs. The music’s cheerful but the lyrics will relate to anyone who’s come across depression, or if they want to know about it. It came out one night when I was staying in [fellow ’80s UK indie baronet, latterly of Ellis Island Sound] Pete Astor’s loft, before I went into a hostel – a pretty bleak time.”
The idea of the Mini-Mart, he continues, is “like if you went into a shop, and the songs were cheap, bright products, total bargains, and you can have more than you usually would. On the sleeve, there are key lines that illuminate the meaning of the album, like posters around the shop; one is ‘Thick Ignorant Peasant Bastards Make Me Fucken Puke’, which sums up, for me, the way I feel about people – it’s writ large on a great big billboard in my mind. Others are ‘A Word Is Like A Bullet, It Can Tear Your World Apart‘, and ‘I Am The Sardonic Lucifer With A Fifty Foot Wingspan’, which is my character at the moment.”
The album’s personnel include keysman Terry K-Tel, programmer Top Button, fretless bass maestro Rusty Stone and, from The Glitter Band, drummer P.G. Phipps on Simmons kit. “It’s a lot more electronic than before,” muses Lawrence. “Very modern compared to On The Hot Dog Streets – a new decade, really.” It’s out, possibly, in September/October (Lawrence adds, if anyone has an original November 1975 edition of glamour photo mag
Club International Gallery International with the Malcolm McLaren interview, please get in touch).