Life. It’s something you just can’t run from. It’s one big whirlwind of emotions, which forces us to face struggles, love, and loss and to make decisions on how we want to live it. Beans on Toast’s new album The Toothpaste And The Tube encapsulates all this and more. It is a real portrait of life, grounding the listener in snapshots of the everyday before zooming out to the tests we face as a country and global community.
It takes us on a spin through themes of parenthood, the climate and political crises, and the rising cost of living right through to a trip to the local pub and the sheer pleasure of a simple dip in the sea. It is serious, yet joyful, rough, yet full of laughter. It is a wonderful showcase for Beans’ talent for tackling the great issues of our day with humility, insight, and wit: from the raw honesty of ‘Back Out On The Road’ and the tentative light fighting its way through the darkness in ‘Hope & Glory’, to the sharp-tongued criticism of ‘The Three Stooges’ and energising calls to action of ‘Work To Do’, each song resonates.
Driving this musical journey, joining Beans on Toast at the wheel, are the wonderful blues duo Ferris & Sylvester and the organ and drum extraordinaire Ross Gordon, rolling us through country blues, skiffle-pop, gospel grooves and even a splash of bagpipes in ‘Sunny Sunny Scotland’.
With The Toothpaste And The Tube, Beans has his finger on the pulse of our time, addressing our most urgent challenges head on. He is unapologetically direct, his words hitting hard and yet never without warmth or a glimpse of hope. The album title refers to the phrase “You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube”, or more simply put “What’s done is done”. The message seems to be that we can’t do much about the fact that our problems – great and small – exist, about where we’ve been, but we can do something about where we are going. It’s a mobilising cry to think big and yet also reminds us to savour the many little joys life brings.