The second album released to celebrate Jay’s 40th birthday is a reversion to his familiar DIY style. The Unforeseeable Future provides a commentary on what he calls “the 2020 shitshow” seen from a very personal, from-the-streets point of view. His heart is worn on his sleeve but unlike some writers whose work might be considered “political”, he doesn’t deny that label.
The opener, ‘Strange Days’, describes the beginning of the pandemic as perceived by an ordinary bloke who couldn’t possibly imagine how bad it could become and ‘Human Contact’ longs for the end of it all. ‘Chessington World Of Adventures’, released a while ago as a download single, unleashes Jay’s anger at the government’s incompetence and another single, ‘Glastonbury Weekend’, reveals his fears for his own safety and the safety of others while wondering how to pass the time.
Of course the year wasn’t just about a virus and ‘What Colour You Are’ sets Black Lives Matter against the obscenity of privately funded rocket launches while attacking the US police and National Guard. ‘Save The Music’ turns its attention to what is naturally one of Jay’s principal concerns and ‘Got Each Other’ reflects on a health scare involving their young daughter and the threat of eviction – you can imagine how many people have gone through similar crises.
Politics returns with ‘Arseholes’, although the title is never used and there is a feeling of weariness in the song although the spiky lyrics make their point. “Blinded by opinion, conspiracies and confusion” is his summary of the effects of social media as “I don’t believe my eyes, maybe they’re broken”. This could just be the most significant song in the set. Jay switches to piano as he returns to the intensely personal with ‘Trying To Keep The Lights On’ but again there are so many people to whom this applies.
Finally, ‘Patience?” – note the question mark – sums up where we’ve been and where we are as Jay tries to dredge up some optimism. I really like Knee Deep In Nostalgia, the first half of this set, but I can’t help thinking that the important songs are to be found in The Unforeseeable Future.
Artist’s website: https://beansontoastmusic.com/
‘Strange Days’ – the lockdown video: