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MJ HIBBETT & THE VALIDATORS – Regardex, Ecoutez et Repetez (CD, Artists Against Success)

Posted: August 6th, 2009, by Alex McChesney

Are you a male, 30-something IT professional with an undying nostalgia for the music of the 1990s?  I am, I’m afraid.  So is MJ Hibbett, and, being an unpretentious sort, his songwriting eschews complex metaphor and sticks to simple tales about his everyday existence – songs about workplace crushes and getting older and settling into suburban life.  That’s admirably honest, I suppose.  In fact, if you’re in a similar boat, you may find yourself thinking “Great!  A songwriter who sings about my life.”  After all, isn’t most pop music aimed at teenagers?  Isn’t it about time we had a champion?

I found myself reacting to this album in that way, then feeling a little bit guilty about it.  There is value in finding the beauty in the mundane, for sure.  The films of Mike Leigh are rightly praised for exactly that.  But there’s not much art to what Hibbett does, and I’m not sure that it’s healthy to enjoy something just because it validates your own existence.  Not at my age.  I should be looking for transcendence in my art, lifting my soul out of the world of mortgages and washing-up, not reiterating it over a dated britpop soundtrack.

But there is a degree of good-natured humour here without tipping over the novelty-band precipice, and I can’t help but smile at images like that of Sir Clive Sinclair on the cover of Heat.  And that dated britpop soundtrack is implemented with confidence, some nice hooks, and the occasional moment of joyous bombast.

So maybe I just need to pull my head out of my backside and admit that I quite liked it.  Sometimes it’s ok to be everyday.

MJ Hibbett’s official site

Alex McChesney

Alex was brought up by a family of stupid looking monkeys after being lost in the deep jungles of Paisley. Teaching him all their secret conga skills (as well as how to throw barrels at plumbers), Alex was able to leave for the bright lights of Glasgow where adventure struck him and he needed all his conga skills to save the world and earn the hand of a lovely Texan princess. He now keeps a low profile alphabeticising his record collection and making sock monkeys in the likenesses of his long lost family.


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