Stewart Lee, Sunday Times

11th March 2012

The Belbury Tales - Belbury Poly

Sleeve notes for Belbury Poly's fifth album suggest the soundtrack to a travelling salesman's adventures with an acid-spiked ploughman's lunch, somewhere in early 1970s rural England. Belbury Poly play like dispirited 1960s psychedelic survivors, reluctantly meeting the demands of television in the subsequent decade, redeeming their banal compositions with snatches of haunting folk melodies, hairy funk basslines and experimental electronics. The overall effect is disorientating and brilliant, the past re-created in a nostalgic fug, stabs of sincerity slashing through superficial veils of irony. These tales are both satirical social critiques and lost-world laments.