The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - TONY CLAY­TON-LEA

Smash the Sys­tem ★★★ Cherry Red Records

Luke Haines is best known as one of con­tem­po­rary rock’s most vivid out­siders, a UK song­writer with a back­ground in sur­prise. Smash the Sys­tem is his sixth al­bum in seven years, and his first non-con­cept work since 2009’s 21st Cen­tury Man. Chang­ing the tem­plate is a good idea (Haines’s quar­tet of en­gag­ing con­cept al­bums, from 2011-2015, epit­o­mised self-in­dul­gence as much as odd­ball vir­tu­os­ity). And so, with a col­lec­tion of dis­tinct songs here, he de­liv­ers usual lev­els of idio­syn­crasy mixed with fresher sub­ject mat­ter and ex­tra mus­cu­lar­ity. Sim­ply put, songs such as Ul­rike Mein­hof’s Brain Is Miss­ing, Black Bunny (I’m Not Vince Tay­lor), Bruce Lee, Ro­man Polan­ski and Me and Cos­mic Man mark out Haines as equal parts Mad Hat­ter and true orig­i­nal. luke­

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