DEREK SINTON SINGS HIS INBOX by Derek Sinton
A real return to form from the legendary crooner who has gone completely solo on his new record. Age just doesn’t seem to affect Sinton who, at 97, shows no sign of slowing down in this simplistic yet expansive work.
On the face of it, a concept album in which a decrepit state pensioner hoarsely belts out almost three thousand unread emails verbatim is not the most typical idea to tickle my ear. However the conviction of the execution truly makes for one of the albums of the decade (at the time of writing, 3rd January 2020.)
The opening track ‘Fresh Administrator jobs… in Cardiff’ drips with nostalgia for a time when Sinton was physically capable of holding down regular employment. After a few patient listens I found myself engrossed in the subtext and couldn’t stop myself singing along to lines such as: ‘This email was sent to you as a registered user of www.jobs.co.uk because you opted-in to receiving Job Alerts from the Jobs4 Group.’
Sinton comes flying out of the blocks with a vocal delivery as bold as it is inconsistent. A myriad of styles are covered from the Sinatra-inspired ‘New Black Friday Deals Have Landed – Up to 70% Off’ to the Mark E. Smith-esque snarl of ‘The Sex Doctor Has The Fix For Erectile Dysfunction.’
Motifs and storylines recur in the triptych ‘Congratulations, you’ve just won the Nigerian lottery!!!’ ‘Thank you for providing your PIN number so promptly’ and ‘We’ve noticed some suspicious activity from your account.’ Of course the fact that this is a three-parter is not at all signposted as Sinton is savvy enough to leave the listener to join the (several thousand) dots.
This is a sprawling epic which documents the minutiae of day-to-day existence without making a single compromise. The lack of any form of editing on the album is initially frustrating but it’s only once you have heard ‘Sign-In Notification From AOL’ be repeated thirty-seven times in a row that you really begin to see how this choice is essential to its function as a satire of the modern day.
The overwhelming nature of technology is the dominant theme here and if there’s a better way to convey that than through a poorly medicated OAP shouting out all of his personal information in one single a cappella take, then please send it my way because I would like to hear it.