Despite having written probably the least discreet and most bilious - and funniest – of all pop autobiographies (Bad Vibes), Luke Haines still clearly relishes playing the Wyndham Lewis of his era, setting himself up as The Enemy of any cultural tropes that threaten to achieve critical mass.
As he notes in the self-condemning "Our Man In Buenos Aires", "he's brought a truckload of trouble down on everyone". Hence his affinity in 21st Century Man for such stubborn, self-sabotaging outsider spirits as Peter Hammill and Klaus Kinski, prickly performers who plough their own furrows whatever the collateral damage. "Who needs people? Who needs friends? They drive you round the fucking bend," Haines inserts into the latter's mouth, whilst mellotron, acoustic guitar and glockenspiel compose a tender garland. Elsewhere, he returns to the disputatious north/south divide in the glam-rock stomp of "English Southern Man", characterises suburbia as a darkling idyll stained with sleazy portents in "Suburban Mourning", and offers sardonic self-justification in the mockney "Wot A Rotter" and the wistful title-track, where references to Yasser Arafat, John Stonehouse and the Green Cross Code Man are draped in creepy mellotron and snarls of wah-wah guitar which sound much like his nemesis Suede.
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