Good album though it was, there was just a little element of disappointment when 'Anomie & Bonhomie' was finally released, for Green Gartside had chosen hip-hop as his favoured style of music. Followers of his early career will know that he started out with a funk sound which soon matured into a peculiarly synthhesized take on Motown soul; peaking with 'Cupid & Psyche 85'. Belatedly, perhaps, 'White Bread Black Beer' is a return to that style.
Despite having just reached a half-century, Gartside's vocals remain an instrument of wonder; that hushed whisper still sounds like a particularly effeminate teenage boy. The first two songs - including the excellent 'Boom Boom Bap' which may be about hip-hop but the music is pure white boy soul - are sparsely arranged as if to prove Gartside has lost none of his emotional reach. 'Dr. Abernathy' is a startling centrepiece; deftly switching between acoustic ballad and glam strut and then back again with great panache. Other highlights include the fragile dreaminess of 'Petrococadollar' and 'E Eleventh Nuts' with its unashamed disco pop. It's just a pity there's a surfeit of whimsical filler on here. Nevertheless it's a more than respectable return with enough great moments to keep fans of the vintage years very contented indeed.