There’s a certain magnetism to the spoken drawls of Baxter Dury. Where his previous solo efforts explored minimum-effort singing, The Night Chancers sees him wholly embrace the conversational elements of communication. This reserve is the essence of the album – in addition to his vocal delivery, the blurred artwork with Dury looking blankly away from the camera introduces us to a new enigmatic, intriguing presence.
The music, too, has taken on new life. Dury has become a storyteller, an observer of the everyday and the people who find themselves stuck in its cycle. In his path follows sweeping percussion hand-in-hand with laid-back basslines, coming together to create a sound of nocturnal metropolitanism entrenched in individual intimacy and existentialism.
It’s an alluring set of tracks (though, annoyingly short in length, clocking in at only thirty minutes). Best characterising Dury’s new sonic ventures is the shadowy hold of ‘Carla’s Got A Boyfriend’, which portrays an ominous envy in an eerie depiction of post-breakup resentment (“Carla’s got a boyfriend / I spotted him on Instagram / Followed him about a bit“).
With The Night Chancers, Dury has accessed a new artistic identity and being that mediates within the psyche of every protagonist, antagonist and environment he exhibits with his words. Don’t be fooled by its lack of commercial impact; this is an album that is definitely not to be missed.