PETE FIJ AND TERRY BICKERS come from two different backgrounds; belonging to groups that had very differing effects on Porky. Bickers was the edgy, demonstrative guitarist for the House of Love – and still is when they make occasional forays into the world of pop. Readers of this blog will be well aware of the love affair this scribbler has had with the quartet since 1988, and rightly so.
Fij – an abbreviated form of his gloriously Polish surname which would get about 50 points in Scrabble – was part of Adorable and Polak, with whom neither Porky nor the public at large became overly familiar with.
They’ve teamed up for a ten-track album, Broken Heart Surgery, which consists largely of acoustic tracks, a format we would normally bypass, but Downsizing was one of last year’s finest pop songs, with a stunning video comprising only of closed-down shops. See the link below. It is truly English with its self-effacing look on life: “It’s nothing personal, she said, in the email that was sent, you could say – I was surplus to requirements.”
As the album title might suggest the protagonists are recovering from a love gone amiss, with typical gallows humour and an ability to mock life’s embedded proverbs and philosophies. The duo take a pot shot at the old saying that it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all on Loved & Lost.
“Whoever said that,” Fij drawls, before pausing for breath. “should be shot”.
Life in many ways is played out as a social media experiment, on a timeline where everyone sees the anger and the joy, but not the complexities of it all, and in which one half feels like they’re regarded as a “a voucher code, a free download, the latest plug-in” (Out of Time).
It’s Porky’s personal desire for an album to be upbeat, jaunty, to contain songs I can hum or whistle along to while making breakfast; so slower, more intense tracks like Sound of Love don’t quite catch the ear in the same that Breaking Up would. But one man’s meat etc, and I know a man in East Anglia who would say the exact opposite to me.
Broken Heart Surgery is a touching critique of modern love, noting the distractions technology and communication can have, removing some of the personal aspects of an affair. It’s written in the manner of the mood swings that love brings and takes, but often with delectable irony.