There’s too much misery around not to believe the “legend” of Brighton Port Authority, whose career was a semi-underground one thought lost before these tapes were rediscovered last year. The 12 tracks, produced by Norman Cook and Simon Thornton “sometime during the 70s”, have a surprisingly modern feel, the likes of Should I Stay Or Should I Blow, featuring Ashley Beadle, and Emmy The Great’s Seattle, sounding suspiciously like tracks from a Fatboy Slim record. Jamie T and Dizzee Rascal manage to appear on tracks ostensibly recorded before their birth, a consequence,which is never adequately explained but, hey, who’s counting? Highlights abound: Iggy Pop opens it all up, adding his vocals to He’s Frank, while the sentimentality of Island (with Justin Robertson) and Superlover (featuring Cagedbaby) show a kind of razzled tenderness full of hope and regret.
BPA’s backstory can’t mask the fact that behind this album is a songwriter and collaborator of some repute, in collusion with everyone from Martha Wainwright to David Byrne. If only they’d got the attention they deserved way back in their 70s heyday, punk may never have happened at all. But that’s a story for another time, and another album.