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BEANS ON TOAST is back with a landmark 10th album: “A Bird In The Hand” – out now. Leading up to the release with a string of singles including ‘Another Year’, ‘Alexa’ and ‘Magic’, Beans and a full live band will now take his latest studio recordings to stages across the UK early in 2019. Full dates and details below.
Greeted to a warm reception upon release, the new album stands as one of Beans’ most successful to date – charting in its first week at #3 in the Record Store Chart (UK Official Album Chart); #4 in the Singer-Songwriter Album Chart (iTunes UK Album Chart); #4 in the Independent Album Breakers Chart (UK Official Album Chart); and #32 in the Independent Album Chart (UK Official Album Chart).
Sticking firmly to his tradition of releasing a new album on the same date each year, 2018 was always going to be a big deal for Beans on Toast with album double-digits on the cards. Fittingly for this anniversary, Beans got back in touch with Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, who had produced his first album a decade ago, and together they hatched a plan.
Utilizing the hospitality of Lovett (whose band were spending much of their time at London’s legendary Church Studios making their next record), Beans found himself enjoying the same incredible facilities during off days and late nights, to lay down “A Bird In The Hand”, along with with the help of in-house engineer, Riley MacIntyre.
Calling in mutual friends, Ben and Beans arranged a team of incredible musicians, including Mumford & Sons’ live drummer Chris Mass and Dutch artist Christof van der Ven on guitar. Ted Dwane offered bass on a couple of tracks, and Ben himself took up piano and production duties to bring a clear, contemporary, and unique vision to the Beans’ songs. The result is arguably Beans on Toast’s finest album to date. The album is diverse, easily switching between folk ballads, punk bangers and swing numbers without ever losing sight of itself or its listener.
A lot has changed in the years since the debut album, in both the world and also in Beans’ personal life, this is reflected in both the sound and the subject matter of this new album. Most notably in the stand out track ‘MAGIC’, a song about the birth of his daughter earlier this year. An emotional and honest account of what can usually be a difficult subject to tackle, Beans achieves this without being crass or soppy, almost a trademark of his these days.
Songs about his daughter are scattered through the album, she’s clearly been quite the inspiration. Aforementioned single ‘ANOTHER YEAR’ offers a touching tribute, whereas ‘HERE AT HOMERTON HOSPITAL’ is an ode to the East London institution where she was born and its wonderful staff.
There are no songs about getting intoxicated and, surprisingly, not a single profanity on the entire album. This wasn’t purposeful and was actually pointed out after the album had been mastered. However, that doesn’t mean Beans has run out of things to say about the world. ‘BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH’ tackles the catastrophic plastic pollution disaster we’re living in, whereas ‘ALEXA’ looks at the future of voice-activated Internet devices and the oncoming Amazon world domination. It’s funny but thought provoking, another one of Beans trademark.
Over the course of his huge career Beans has become something of a cult national treasure. What seemed like a throwaway festival act has evolved into something much more important, a voice of truth and honesty, cutting through the bullshit. A consistent and reliable modern-day troubadour, not afraid to speak his mind. Always touring, always writing, recording and releasing music. Playing every festival under the sun and always, always, telling it like it is.
When asked if he thought this was a political record Beans said: “I think everyone already knows where I stand on Trump and Brexit, and if not, they can listen to my last two albums. This album is more personal I guess, focusing on family and the world on my doorstep. That’s where my heads been this last year”
Speaking of the song ‘MAGIC’ Beans said: “I’ve been playing this song live for a while now, and it definitely strikes a chord. More than any song I’ve ever written, I think. After my shows, the conversations used to all be about after parties or ecstasy, now more often than not it’s about parenting or newborn babies. Which is fine with me”
And commenting on working with Ben Lovett: “I have so much respect for Ben. I couldn’t quite believe he said yes when I asked him if he fancied doing another record. I presumed he’d be way too busy, but somehow he managed to find the time. I thought he was joking when he said he’d sorted it for us to work in The Church Studios. Not only were we in such a legendary space to record, but we also had all of Mumford’s guitars and instruments set up, mic’ed up and ready to go. It might just be the biggest blag I’ve ever pulled. Punching well above my weight. The sessions had a really special magic about them and Ben took my songs into new waters. I’m well happy with the record. I can’t wait for people to hear it. I also can’t wait to make another 10 records.”
‘A Bird in the Hand’ is a celebration of love, life, family and the world in which we live. It’s about appreciating what we have and in that, it is a triumph.
A BIRD IN THE HAND – UK TOUR 2019
30/01 – CARDIFF Clwb Ifor Bach
31/01 – PORTSMOUTH The Wedgwood Rooms
01/02 – MARGATE Dreamland Ballroom
- 02/02 – STOWMARKET John Peel Centre
- 04/02 – CAMBRIDGE J2 Junction
05/02 – LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
06/02 – CARLISLE The Brickyard
07/02 – ABERDEEN The Lemon Tree
08/02 – GLASGOW Stereo
09/02 – NEWCASTLE The Cluny
12/02 HULL Adelphi
13/02 – MANCHESTER Gorilla
14/02 – LEICESTER Dryden Street Social
15/02 – BIRMINGHAM Castle & Falcon
16/02 – BRISTOL Thekla
20/02 – EXETER Phoenix
21/02 – TRURO The Old Bakery
22/02 – PLYMOUTH The Junction
23/02 – NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
24/02 – OXFORD The Bullingdon
26/02 – TUNBRIDGE WELLS The Forum
27/02 – BRIGHTON Patterns
28/02 – LONDON The Garage