Album: Scott 4 & Magic Car

European Punks LP, Tiny Dog
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The Independent Culture

Always a little too ambitious for their own good, Scott 4 hook up here with the folksy Nottingham quartet Magic Car to bring us a "musical Norse saga" set in the sub-Arctic tundra, where lives "a lifelong brother- and sisterhood celebrating punk otherness with music and fire." The nine tracks, it's claimed, illustrate their "epic quest" to find a punk Valhalla, although the pleasantly unassuming techno-folk stylings rely more on strings, synths and pedal-steel guitar than a guitar with a three-chord limit. To give it its due, the album does at least follow the conventions of proper musicals, in that virtually the entire show is contained in the opening track, with several others offering theme and variation; but the lyrical content is so slight that the term "epic" is something of a misnomer. For though the concluding "Valhalla" claims: "We've reached our destination/ We're gonna party hard and make a new punk nation", there's scant illustration of how the punks got there, too many of the tracks being incidental instrumentals or little more than banjo and choral humming. Say what you like about Andrew Lloyd Webber's shows, but at least they hustle the action along, whereas here, we've barely met the one discernible character ("I'm a Lego man in a yellow Viking jumpsuit/ I live in a van/ It's a burger van") before he's arrived at his destination, celebrating with a self-indulgent guitar solo that would be anathema to any self-respecting punk. So where did the quest go?