The Auteurs - How I Learned To Love The Bootboys

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:1999-07-05

The four years since After Murder Park was a long gap for the prolific Auteurs, but it wasn't like frontman Luke Haines hadn't been busy. Under the name Baader Meinhof, he had recorded a peculiar but brilliant concept album (Baader Meinhof) about 1970s European terrorism and along with vocalist Sarah Nixey and former Jesus & Mary Chain drummer John Moore, had made one album of demented torch songs (England Made Me) as Black Box Recorder. How I Learned To Love The Bootboys contains influences of both side projects. The opening track and single, "The Rubettes", was originally conceived as a Black Box Recorder song, and the screeching violin squalls that dominated the Baader Meinhof album are heard again on "Johnny And The Hurricanes" and "Asti Spumante". The theme this time round is Haines' English childhood, the very bland ordinariness of which seems to obsess him. "1967" is named after the year of Haines' birth and narrated from the perspective of his own father; "School" is self-explanatory. Best of all is the closing rant "Future Generation", in which Haines posits his view that the commercial failure endured by The Auteurs to this point will be redeemed by the more perceptive youth of tomorrow. It would be nice if he was right--Haines is very possibly the finest songwriter Britain produced in the 1990s, and he deserves to hear it from someone other than himself. --Andrew Mueller

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