ity the children of hippies. As if going to school with a name like ‘Summer’ or ‘Serendipity’ or ‘Swan’ wasn’t fucking bad enough, all hippie children who decide to choose a career in the music industry are also cursed with the gift of eternal creative mediocrity. Just look at Dido (full name: Dido Santa Fe Sommerville Gladrags Aloysius Mountaintop Robinson III Esquire, possibly) or any of the multitudinous Beatles-spawn who’ve attempted to foist their supposedly superior genetic gifts for melody, harmony and rhythm on the unsuspecting and undeserving public. You’d have thought that being raised by barefooted vegan drug-addicts would pre-dispose you to being a fucking mentalist lunatic on the fringes of sanity and sonic possibility, but the truth is that people like Lemmy or Aphex Twin or Bobby Gillespie come from nice lower-middle class or not-nice dodgy working class families. This is because all true hippies are actually seethingly middle class assholes who choose to eat lentils and share beds with chickens and not watch television because they can afford not to worry about whether everybody else thinks they’re tossers. You need land in order to raise goats and grow legumes and especially if you want to go tripping through daisies without getting told off by park wardens, and working class / lower-middle class families simply can’t afford land. When you come from the identity-less hinterland that is the economic suburbs or inner cities you have to learn to take serious risks if you’re ever going to get anywhere near facilitating your dreams. Plus living without an identity slowly drives everybody to extremes in order to try and ascertain who the hell they are, before they finally realise that they aren’t anybody and decide to release disparate double-albums of relentless avant-noise titled entirely in made-up languages because that’s what people with no identity do. After all, why not? When you’ve grown up safe and secure in the knowledge that you are Sunset Tarquin Snowy-Owl D’Arcy IV whether you have shoes or not you don’t need to develop multiple personalities just to have satisfying conversations.
Butterfly Boucher has a sibling named Summer. She also has a lot of musical instruments, and on Flutterby she plays all of them, pretty much at once. The law of logic decrees that a hippie child playing thousands of musical instruments all at once should either result in insufferably indulgent grade-eight-on-piano-at-age-five precocious wankwank, or else nauseatingly inept dog-on-a-string unlistenable lo-fi claptrap. The truth is that Butterfly (was her moniker mocked at school? Of course it fucking wasn’t, she was home-tutored!) Boucher (can she bake though, that’s the main question? Butterfly, if you read this and you can bake, please email me and we can get together and eat bread together and I can apologise for slating your background and denouncing you as a hippie child and I can try and seduce you with my working-class English rough charm) doesn’t do either of these things, but actually focuses on playing as tightly as a long-term backing-band would do. Which is good, because it gives her low-maintenance punchy power-pop alt.folk post-Alanis 3-minute hook factories exactly the kind of backing they need to sound absolutely immediate and if this description goes on much longer I’m going to suffer a serious bout of apnoea.
“I Can’t Make Me” is sadly not a bleakly metaphysical treatise on the harrowing truth of the existential desolation of Herbert Marcuse’s one-dimensional man, but rather a sublimely sweet and catchy pop song about no longer being in love with a guy who’s a bit crap even if he is quite cute. “Another White Dash” is a survivor from Butterfly’s former adventures as the bassist in some band (eurgh, how distasteful) that bursts (in a charmingly subdued manner) from a rather doomy verse into a chorus of melodically clear skies and open vistas; as Butterfly opens her mouth to utter “do-do-doodoo” I’m suddenly hit by a very strong urge to kiss her. That she then sings “I’ve got a heart full of rubber bands that keep getting caught on / things” merely adds to the allure. The pained yodel that begins “Soul Back” makes me want to take my socks off (especially when she sings “I think I like it” later, even if this is followed by “I think I’d like my soul back” rather than, I don’t know, “I think I’d like you to take your socks off and come here and eat bread with me, you rough wee bastard”).
Lyrically clever rather than profound, Flutterby is remarkably concise and controlled for a debut album, especially one written and played by a hippie with a stupid first name and too many instruments. I dread to think what the children of the next generation of hippies will produce (you know the ones – the dreadlocked afro-techno-world-beat digging field-dancers full of acid).
Reviewed by: Nick Southall
Reviewed on: 2003-11-17