The scarily rendered "future portraits" of Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat on the sleeve signal the unflinching nature of the latter's reflections on ageing, underscored by Wells's wistful piano progressions, allied to lachrymose cello.
"Ballad of the Bastard" is typical of his attitude towards his louche, unfaithful past, equal parts resigned, regretful and proud; while his happiness with a settled relationship in "Let's Stop Here" doesn't stop him hankering for an old flame who's "bolder, wiser, sexier and free". As for the enemies of promise, the pram in the hall has been replaced, in "Cages", by CBeebies and dishwasher tablets. It's all brought into perspective in "The Copper Top", which finds him glumly acknowledging how everything corrodes, even life itself. Not a party album.
DOWNLOAD THIS Let's Stop Here; Cages; Ballad of the Bastard