When word of Mick Trouble first surfaced in 2017 the hazy narrative centered around a lost artist that just missed his luck by backing out of a John Peel session and then subsequently disappeared to the winds. Owing to the fact that pretty much every song by Mick Trouble sounds like a garden shed discovery of a lost tape from The Television Personalities circa ’78-81, the story seemed plausible as any. Obfuscation aside, however, the band is in fact the spot-on send up of Jed Smith from latter day indie-pop stalwarts My Teenage Stride, themselves plenty indebted to the jangled agenda of that same time period. If you’re keeping tabs on 2019, Smith has also already dazzled with his contributions to Jeanines, backing up Alicia Hyman’s songs with a breezy swing.
Back to Trouble, though. A few listens in to … Here’s The Mick Trouble LP and the figment of Smith’s imagination begins to take more shape than on the previous EP. Smith inhabits the aura of Dan Treacy, from his hi-tone strums to the crooked smile that inhabits every scrap of TVP’s catalog. “In a year that sees Fire Record dump two major collections of vintage Television Personalities singles collections on the world though, why would we want a facsimile,” you ask? Because there’s every chance you’re not gonna get a new Television Personalities record, and it’s definitely not gonna grace the hallmarks of the ‘70s singularity that sparked this particular version of their sound. Because Smith’s doing it so well that if you close your eyes, time melts away and the six-string spirits of a half-cocked past come seeping through the floorboards ready to get pissed and sweat indie pop for you once again.
So be grateful or be dismissive if you must, but be ready to smile at least a little bit at the wonderful weirdness and absolute beauty of Mick Trouble. He’s been lost and found and somewhere in between the ghost of Bill Grundy will smile on us all and regale us with another tchune.
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