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A Humpty Dumpty Thing

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Album Review

According to the press kit for Jim Bob's sixth solo album since the breakup of his early '90s college rock duo Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, A Humpty Dumpty Thing is a concept album about a dystopian future where state-mandated creativity forces a man with writer's block to either complete an 80,000-word novel or go to jail. Although the former James Robert Morrison has played with long-form ideas before, most notably on his rather brilliant concept album School, this "concept" sounds like a gag on Jim Bob's part. Indeed, on songs like the self-explanatory "God's Blog," the dead serious protest ballad "This Phoney War" and the Kinks-like "Pizza Boy" (a tongue in cheek demand for mindless entertainment that allows the audience to stop thinking about the world's miseries for at least a moment), Jim Bob is more clearly than ever writing about his own time and place, an England in the grips of socio-political malaise. This may well be the least funny record Jim Bob has ever recorded, although his trademark flashes of humor creep even into fed-up rockers like "Battling the Bottle (Fighting the Flab, At War with the World)," and the album-closing "From This Moment" has an undeniable anthemic quality akin to the Who's "Join Together" as performed by twee Brit-pop pioneers the Television Personalities. More Billy Bragg than Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, A Humpty Dumpty Thing is a change in direction for Jim Bob, but a fruitful one.

A Humpty Dumpty Thing, Jim Bob
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