... Is the BlueBlack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter
Never a star likely to fade away, Adam Ant endured a traumatic decline after his 1980s heyday; he was eventually committed to a psychiatric institution in 2003. A decade on and the now 58-year-old singer has ploughed those experiences into this, his first album since 1995.
It’s an ambitious affair, spanning 17 tracks over two distinct sides, but one wonders whether even ardent Ant fans will go the distance. The first half is hideously self-indulgent, a wilfully amateurish rockabilly mess that all but begs to be wrenched from the CD player and flung across the room.
This section apparently represents Ant’s troubled years (the album’s title is an oblique reference to his supposed mistreatment by record companies) but, while occasionally enlightening lyrically, its attempt at re-embracing punk’s “anything goes” attitude really just insults the modern listener.
This is unfortunate, because there is much to admire about the more measured second half, the highlight being Vivienne’s Tears, an acoustic but quirkily original tribute to his old designer, Vivienne Westwood. If only those wayward talents were so well harnessed throughout.