Scott Lavene: Disneyland In Dagenham (Nothing Fancy) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, June 25th, 2024  

Scott Lavene

Disneyland In Dagenham

Nothing Fancy

May 29, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Scott Lavene scored a screamer with breakthrough single “Waitrose Has Run Out of Lobsters” in the spring of 2023. A serrated, laconic laceration of British middle class mores, it drew wider attention to a singular artist who had quietly been making beautiful, funny, uniquely English music as far back as 2016. First as Big Top Heartbreak, under which moniker he released the lovely, loser-friendly Deadbeat Ballads, then later under his own name, he released a series of sparkling 7-inches such as “It’s All Gonna Blow” and the swooning “Methylated Blue” as well as an immaculate album Milk City Sweethearts.

That record drew him deservedly great reviews as well as the seemingly unlikely love of The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn, with whom he has recently toured, and who shows up here somewhat incongruously on stellar single “Paper Roses.”

Comparisons are often made between Laverne and punk poets like Wreckless Eric or Ian Dury, and he’s certainly a comparable wit and their equal as a tunesmith, but where Laverne excels most is in his heartfelt, detailed reminiscences of working class life in his home county of Essex. On the weighty, romantic title track he charts the town names through which his local motorway cuts like a litany, and on “Sadly I’m Not Steve McQueen” he finds the golden glory in the seeming banality of a caravan holiday. That track features a lyrical payoff simultaneously as unpredictable as it is inevitable, and is worth the price of the album alone.

Perhaps the patronship of Finn is not so surprising when you note their shared ability to transform the day-to-day into the semi-religious.

On more surrealist ventures such as the bizarre “Custard,” dreamlike “Horse and I,” and the pitch-black satire of the murderous “Keeping It Local” he still manages to tie the most outlandish of ideas to a relatable, common experience. “It looks like the stars are bleeding / We need to fix the central heating,” Lavene sings on the soulful “Rats,” the poetry of mundanity at its peak.

Lavene’s lurching between, say, the drum machine dirge of “Debbie” and the tender balladeering of the aforementioned “Paper Roses,” should be jarring, but instead it illustrates the breadth of his talents, the playfulness with which he approaches music, and adds the spice of adventure to his pointedly humdrum concerns.

Disneyland In Dagenham is endearing as a whole, glorious in parts, hilarious in others, and in its darkest corners, heartbreaking. Laverne’s singular voice and relatable concerns infuse the album with an honesty and kindness that’s rare, and leave the listener glowing with both admiration and empathy. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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