‘Humdinger’ is a colloquial noun used to designate “a remarkable or outstanding person or thing of its kind”. In a sentence, one might use it thus:
“I never thought in all my mortal life I’d ever see so much lasagne. Tommy’s party was a real humdinger.” Or: “I lost my job due to internal restructuring and my wife has left me, taken the kids, and I can’t help but think It’s all my fault. Maybe I should have worked harder, or made more of an effort with her. Anyway, tomorrow’s sports match should be a real humdinger.” Or: “Of all the beloved alt-country bands emerging from the contemporary Bristol underground with a single out now that’s a real humdinger and is also called ‘Humdinger’, Langkamer is a real humdinger (with a real ‘Humdinger‘).’
With semantics therefore dealt with, Humdinger is the latest from beloved Bristol outfit Langkamer and follows April’s country-punk offering ‘The Ugliest Man In Bristol’ as the second harbinger of the band’s debut full length West Country that arrives in September. With its cantering bassline it somewhat resembles the Courtney Barnett brand of fuzzy indie, but Humdinger conducts its business squarely in the lobby of the blues structure to reinforce its take-home message. It’s a song about simply trying to survive the mundanities of our capitalistically-determined daily cycles, to the extent that we end up running out of daily cycles in which to actually live – that in the midst of “three o’clock coffee and five o’clock gin” and “taking the bins out and bringing them in” the future arrives, we haven’t done the things we want to do. It’s too late and before long we’ll be done ourselves.
It’s with a trademark wry eye that lead vocalist and drummer Joshua Jarman observes these rituals, and it’s between the occasional salvos of serrated guitar exchanged by the band’s two guitarists that a call to break free is articulated. This precedes a breakdown that in the video somewhat hallucinogenically features gleeful clowns (breakclown?), showing us the truly myriad possibilities of a life lived on our own terms. Life is what you make it, so stop worrying about how your council tax gets spent or whether you’re really getting your money’s worth from your contents insurance and do all the things you’ve always dreamed about, like learning the bassoon or whatever.
Words: Ed Hambly // Photo: AJ Stark
‘Humdinger’ is the second single to be released from ‘West Country’, the debut album from Langkamer, out September 10th on Breakfast Records. Pre-order the album via Bandcamp.