Emerging from Brixton’s ‘antifolk’ community, SERGEANT BUZFUZ is a canny Anglo-Irish quintet led by singer/ songwriter Joe Murphy who also co-runs the Blang! Records label. Their fiercely independent stance has already brought us essential releases from the likes of Lucy’s Diary and Milk Kan, but each Sergeant Buzfuz release suggests Joe’s own charges are becoming the dark horses to have a fair old flutter on.
Although not as superficially quirky as their previous broadside (the fine ‘Knock Knock Knock’ EP), this impressive double A-side is still an excellent showcase for the band’s idiosyncratic Folk-Pop sound, not to mention Murphy’s increasingly compelling lyrical dexterity.
Nominal ‘A’-side ‘Danny’s Room’ is superficially a little gentler and smoother in design, though the sadness of the tale seeps through after a few spins. If I have it right, young Danny receives a bike for his 15th birthday from his proud parents only for said machine to be sabotaged and Danny killed in an accident as a result. It’s a lilting lament and the kid-glove lyrics (“what shall we do with Danny’s room? / don’t touch a thing now, it’s too soon”) are all too identifiable for anyone who has lost someone prematurely.
‘AA’ side ‘Molly’s Bar’ is perhaps even better. An unlikely – but typically successful – meshing of brisk pop efficiency, chromatic chord changes, fiddles and tin whistles, it’s an all too easily relatable tale of love, devastating loss and alcoholic fortification culminating in an ace chorus (“I sit all day in Molly’s Bar, I’m just another chancer/ I don’t know what the question is, but Guinness is the answer”) which can’t fail to raise the spirit of any self-respecting ducker and diver.
Whether taken individually or collectively ‘Danny’s Room’ and ‘Molly’s Bar’ are among the best songs these unlikely Celtic-tinged Pop heroes have mustered to date. If (like me) you believe there’s always room for great story-telling in modern music you could do a lot worse than let Sergeant Buzfuz feel your collar.
Sergeant Buzfuz online
Listen to Danny's Room on Soundcloud