THERE is no denying that there is a lot of his old man in the way that Baxter Dury approaches a microphone, simultaneously sizing it up and playfully jousting with its form. The voice too – a gruff estuary drawl, deadpan yet packed with character – has been handed down. But just as Ian Dury was far more than the sum of his parts, Dury Jr has blithely drawn on the songs and sonics of Ray Davies, Jerry Dammers and Serge Gainsbourg to create a louche, sophisticated yet spacious hybrid sound that is as idiosyncratic as it is comfortingly familiar.
Baxter Dury, SWG3, Glasgow ****
Though he could likely power a small town with his crumpled charisma, Dury is far from alone in this enterprise. His current album, Prince of Tears, features the most alluring use of soothing female backing vocals this side of Leonard Cohen, though Dury’s two live foils, Madelaine Hart and Fabienne Debarre, offered more of a stylised blankness which was particularly effective against a backdrop of springy basslines, trebly beats and nasal synths.
Dury’s suited and booted rascally persona was so magnetic as to draw together the diverse strands – from the snotty Picnic on the Edge to the stealthy psychodrama of Porcelain, the plaintive Kinks-like ballad Wanna to the slightly seedy prowl of Miami – into one dangerously charming display, culminating in an encore of cascading lo-fi disco, low-slung, economical confessionals and the breathy Prince of Tears jammed out into something more epic and psychedelic.