Band: Footprints In The Custard
Album: A New Low
Release Date: 1st June, 2019
Label: Self Released
Review by John
A New Low? How exactly do a band who managed to turn twee Christmas granny favourite ‘Walking In The Air’ into a joyful ditty about being fucked by a bear manage to get any lower? How low can they go? Well, squirting grandmothers for a start. But more on that later.
It’s fair to say that the last few weeks I’ve been like a kid on Christmas eve waiting for Santa to spaff in their stocking. Given past delights served up by the band, and with new kid Sladen now such a part of the furniture that they rest drinks on him, interest levels were high. But then, out of nowhere. The ‘S’ word.
Were Footprints suddenly going mainstream?
It’s fair to say that, though lyrically the band remain as irreverent as ever, musically they have moved up another level. Third album ‘The Descent Of Decency’ (2016) saw them take a giant leap forward as a band and, while the progression isn’t quite as dramatic here, this is by far their most polished and professional offering yet.
Ominous insturmental opener ‘A New Low’provides an eerie introduction to proceedings, before the guitars burst into life to lead us by the hand into ‘Beer Goggles’, a cautionary tale of the perils of being incredibly drunk. Something which I’m sure none of the band have any first hand experience of.
Lead single ‘Ride, My Little Pony, Ride!’ is a whirling dervish of a battle metal anthem involving blood, lust and childrens toys. Headbanging is compulsory.
Things get heavier on ‘Tequila Nips’, with Sladen given the chance to unleash hell alongside the twin guitar assault of Ross and Whitty, as shots are both fired and downed. I’m not even going to pretend to understand what the title refers to. But I bet there’s a story behind it.
Talk of shots leads beautifully into ‘Motherfucking Hangover’. We’ve had the track about the partying. Now for the brutal morning after comedown. Except, musically, it is anything but a comedown. More catchy riffs come straight in your ears, as the world spins, the head pounds and the pieces of the night before are painfully put back together. While Russ’ vocals are still laced with the trademark humour you would expect from Footprints, there’s a genuinely dark feel to the song itself. And it works so very well. This is the point in the album where you sit back and think to yourself “wow”. 13 years of titting about have led to this moment. And if anybody can convey the misery of a hangover via the medium of a tortured scream it’s Russ.
Next we have a public service announcement of sorts. And one that quite a few people really need to take notice of.
‘Don’t Be A Cunt’ is, after the darker turn of ‘Hangover’ one of those bouncy, uplifting little ditties that the band excel at. The title perfectly sums the song up, as it rallies against the sort of arseholes who, especially since the dawn of social networking, seem to take pleasure in spoiling everyone else’s fun. Hellishly catchy, I’d be surprised if this didn’t slowly become an integral part of the live set. Hopefully retaining the almost angelic choir who provide a beautifully harmonious rendition of the title.
Okay. Now we get to the squirting. Guitars crunch and grind as Russ regales us all with the glorious tale of an octogenarian with an impressive talent that probably wouldn’t feature on an ITV Saturday night showcase for fear of turning Amanda Holden’s hair grey and getting David Walliams hot under the collar. Replete with Pythonesque old lady impressions, it’s a gloriously tasteless offering that leaves you breathless.
The epic endeavours of everyone’s favourite President (apart from all the others) form the basis of ‘Space Force!’, based around the Donald’s ingenious scheme to face Space Isis head on with the introduction of his intergalactic battle squad. Coming across as the soundtrack to a TV show we all wish was an actual thing, it’s another anthemic offering. Surely ‘Fuck Space ISIS’ is tailor made for the backprint of a t-shirt?
As we move deeper into depravity, we get a sample of Silent Bob’s hetero-life partner Jay giving his unforgettable speech declaring himself the ‘CLIT Commander’. Which just happens to be the title of the next track, a thunderous ode to the fact that not all males consider a certain part of the female anatomy harder to find than Madeleine McCann.
We head into full on blackened death territory for a celebration of the humble posterior on ‘Bums’, with Russ providing more growls than the average disgruntled teenager.
Deep down, I really want to like ‘The Horn’. The subject matter, which concerns an individual in a permanent state of sexual arousal, provides some fantastic lyrical content, and it all starts off well enough. Unfortunately (for me at least), it then takes a detour into pirate metal territory. Don’t get me wrong, it’s well executed and a fine example of the genre. It’s just that I’m not a fan of that particular branch of metal. If you are, then trust me, you will likely love it. The lyrics are a treat and, if I’m honest, the musical style is well suited to the subject matter. It’s just not for me.
The same cannot be said for ‘The Bar At The End Of The World’, a true curveball that generates genuine emotions, as it raises a glass to absent friends. It’s a real departure for the band, but is utterly beautiful – and that is something I never thought I would say about a Footprints In The Custard song. Melodic, haunting and almost power-ballady in places, it could well be the standout track, and the guitar solo is captivating. Simply phenomenal.
All good things must come to an end, and ‘A New Low’ is no exception, as we finish with a sequel. Just as the band’s sophomore effort ‘Every Hole Is A Goal’ (2011) closed out proceedings with the rousing ‘Love Custard’, we’re now treated to ‘Love Custard II – The Second Coming’. After the more serious subject matter of ‘The Bar At The End Of The World’, we’re back on familiar territory as we gather the seamen (or possibly semen) and prepare to set sail on an ocean of jizz. Despite the naughtily nautical theme, we thankfully do not stray back into the world of pirate metal, as the album finishes on an extremely high note with a nod to the past that looks to the future.
Looking back at ‘Oh God, It’s Warm’ (their 2007 debut) and it’s clear just how far Footprints In The Custard have progressed as a band. There’s a real sense of maturity about ‘A New Low’, albeit not in terms of the subject matter. But Russ is at least using bigger, more grown up words for various sexual depravities now.
This is the sound of a band not content to rest on their laurels. They know they have a loyal fanbase who would happily listen to the same songs over and over. But ‘A New Low’ is a real statement of intent. Footprints In The Custard have grown up. While still remaining as wonderfully childish as ever An unmissable treat
9 out of 10
01. A New Low
02. Beer Goggles
03. Ride, My Little Pony, Ride!
04. Tequila Nips
05. Motherfucking Hangover
06. Don’t Be A Cunt
07. My Granny’s A Gusher
08. Space Force!
09. CLIT Commander
11. The Horn
12. The Bar At The End Of The World
13. Love Custard II – The Second Coming