It’s a measure of The Night Chancer’s qualities – most obviously of it’s sleazy charm and battered syncopation – that at no point do thoughts of Baxter Dury’s father come to mind. This is due partially because Junior is now old enough to play the role of many people’s giggling, inappropriate uncle, but also as it’s unquestionably his career high, stories and sounds which the marks of a son overpowering his dad’s legacy.
The Night Chancers themselves are his people – 3 a.m. party goers surviving on 500 calories a day, pills and powder – in this case raucously squatting in an adjoining Paris hotel room after the singer’s one night stand ends without even a kiss goodbye.
It’s clearly evident that here on his sixth album the lovable rogue is operating on a different planet and another level to his previous work. As evidence, on Slumlord the wide eyed, ultra spacious funk is complemented with a contender for the year’s best lyrics: “Charm dripping like fresh honey/I’m the milky bar kid/Soiled trousers/Shiny cheekbones like graveyards in the sun/Murder shoes/Dirty eyes sizing up.”
To do this he’s reached into a personal A-Z of his West London habitat, the streets paved with beggars and hustlers, everyone playing a role and on the take, from the social media trolls sketched on Saliva Hog to Sleep People’s and it’s puddle-deep fashionistas. It’s a map of his soul – and The Night Chancers is Baxter Dury out all on his own as a grimy, careworn icon of a Britain that rarely looks at itself in the mirror any more.
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