If you are fed up with waking up this morning and finding you're wife has left you, your dog has died and you are going to jail, then Luxury Hobo is the album for you. Whilst Big Bloater refutes his blues tag by adding elements of rock n' roll and R & B, there are certainly key blues overtones here; after-all this is the man who presents the popular Blues Magazine show on Team Rock Radio. Bloater's raucous and bawdy stylings have helped him pick up fans in the form of fellow musicians Paul Jones, Jools Holland and self-confessed 'massive fan', Imelda May. It's not hard to see why, Luxury Hobo is a gripping album filled with some brilliantly bold slide guitar and some blues key work that would make Mr Holland envious and some imaginative lyrics.
Inspired by his unexpected breakdown and battle with depression in 2013, the album is about the turbulent nature of modern life and the struggle to maintain the facade of normality in an ever pressurised world. Rest assured it's not morose or mardy, but littered with dark humour and comical metaphors. It Came Out Of The Swamp, for example, is a riotous take on the Godzilla mythology and people attacking and running away from the Other; it could be viewed as an allegorical tale of his own experiences with depression, or just the cynical nature of society. Either way, it's a ballsy well-constructed track and proof that a gifted songwriter can do wonders with one monstrous chord chugging in the background. I love You (But I Can't Stand Your Friends) is a bitchy Johnny Cash style song with a killer sting in the chorus, but one we can all relate too, right? I Got The Feeling Someone's Watching Me is a partner song to The Devil's Tail. Both are thematically about selling out to 15 minutes of fame and the Orwellian paranoia that comes from the 'YouTube generation' and the obsession with CCTV cameras chronicling our every move. Luxury Hobo Blues puts a spin on the traditional blues mould with a bitter irony about the dissatisfaction with modern life whilst the Stepford Wives referencing track, Robot Girlfriend offers a humorous, yet bleak view of the dating world and our obsession with technology. Not Cool Man rounds off a terrific album with plenty of observational humour and a dirty blues riff.Big Boy Bloater and The Limits have created an out of the box album that will appeal to purists but will also reel in some converts with its originality; there's certainly nothing stodgy and stagnant about Big Boy and The Bloaters.Groupie rating 4/5