Interview With Lupen Crook
GRITTY, TWISTED, SQUIFFY AND SALUBRIOUS SCHIZOID SONGSMITH
Lupen Crook has frequently confused people by the range of his aspirations – from agitator to antidote, via everything in between. His persona has appeared inconsistent and ill-defined, shifting between overlapping mantles of lone folkie, loco punker, schizoid artist, gutter poet, sex-obsessed lover, drunken romantic, doting father and provocative prankster. His refusal to be categorised has led to misunderstandings. Some who loved his finely-honed and studio constructed debut album struggled with the genre-crunching, lo-fi vibe of his second. Now, the slightly skewed gutter-bard returns (alongside his long-term collaborators and confidants The Murderbirds) with his third album (The Pros And Cons Of Eating Out) – an unhinged, uncompromising bump of hecticness.
A self-confessed method writer, Lupen Crook has spent the last two years wandering, wondering and wilfully exploring the darker, sinful and secret side of life. This journey through the murky underbelly of humanity has ultimately shaped the personality of his latest release. If you imagine a liquored-up Gogol Bordello meeting Pete Doherty’s half-brother for a dust-up over a stolen bottle of cheap gin in a dimly-lit ginnel then you’re halfway there. It’s the sound of a lonely soul set on fire by a baying mob of heretics. It’s the sound of grubby fingers on an antique piano. It’s the sound of grittiness, gak and the fear.
The apparent contradictions in Lupen Crook’s vision, attitude and music are actually his greatest strength, because they ensure that his potential appeal isn’t tied to any particular demographic. Whether exploring his own personality and relationship with the world around him, or the personal and political relationships between others, his work maintains a substance and distinctiveness of vision that repays close attention. Like everything in this life, to get the full picture one cannot rely on a single viewpoint or perspective; multiple layers can and should be explored for consideration. Nothing is straightforward. Nothing of interest anyhow. Eventually everything flaps in the wind like a crow’s broken wing. Anyway – check out these pictures (you’ll find most unsuitable for viewing at work) and get this into your ears. Everything is clearly fucked. Save yourself.