So here we are again, folks. At the release of an incredible album, one that is rather glorious in its folk-punky nature and execution. This is an album that will sit with you long after the final track, spinning right round and around in your head on a repetitive loop. And it is an album that tells stories of humanity, and tales of truths that we can all relate to. Intrigued? Great, you should be. Why? Because the album in question is the return of the incredible Salopian singer-songwriter Paul Henshaw and his band The Scientific Simpletons. This is ‘You! Just Lost the Game’.
Paul Henshaw and his Scientific Simpletons have so far pursued a career in the folk world that would leave most acne-ridden, blacked-out teenage punk bands in sheer awe. They have had many successes, such as opportunities to perform in the furthest corners of the earth, numerous top album titles, successful tours, festival appearances and many kind words uttered from acclaimed names from across the media. ‘You! Just Lost The Game’ is an album that can be added to the ever growing list of successes. But Paul Henshaw, like many of us, understands that this success is not just handed to you on a plate. Oh no, it is to be grafted for and that is what makes Paul’s albums so raw and relatable and dare I say it, successful.
Similar to predecessor album ‘I Refuse to Sink’, ‘You! Just Lost the Game’ has the same grab-you-by-the-throat story-telling poignancy, where each song is overflowing with all the nostalgic and heart wrenching factors you can fit on your plate. The smooth transition from the slower ballads to the upbeat foot-stomping folky hits is what really stands out with this album. A particular example of this is the 3rd track ‘Churches of Rome’ which has a particular poignancy about it. The desperation-laden vocals lend the lyrics a ‘cry for help’ vibe. It is arguably social commentary, and is a song that you feel you can sing along to despite not knowing the lyrics. Perhaps that means it speaks to something inside all of us? Then an apparent contrast appears as the follow up song is the up-beat almost pop-sounding ‘Bandages and Glue’, which echoes tales of love and how you can be saved from it.
‘Black Sky Thinking’, accompanied by a gorgeous acoustic guitar that really coincides with the sentimentality in the lyrics, is another song that contrasts with others on the album. Paul exclaims with solace ‘I am free, yeah’ which seems to alleviate something within him; it appears as if it has been a long time since those words could be expressed and Paul’s delivery reflects this. And 7th appearing song ‘A Journey of Friends Not Miles’, a song that is filled with expressive guitars and an inevitably catchy chorus, speaks raw honest truths about humanity and the way we all live our lives. This is a notable feature throughout the album and is what makes it so special.
So has this been a successful album for Paul and his Scientific Simpletons? Absolutely. The album reached the Top 10 in the Amazon folk charts and the single ‘I Declare Shenanigans’ made it to number one on the Amazon’s hot new releases chart. That’s not to mention the success of Paul’s participation to one of Shropshire’s biggest musical charity events The Big Busk. For the event, Paul performed 24 gigs in 24 hours, singing songs from the spanking new album as well as old classics and contributed to raising a cracking £10,000 for the Shrewsbury Ark charity.
So if you’ve not yet listened to You! Just Lost the Game, brace yourself for a journey that will make you question everything you think you know about this genre, and may even open your eyes up to a whole new world of music. It is an album that both asks and answers many of life’s difficult questions and shows us the world is not so scientifically simple (pun intended).