The author of Bad Vibes: Britpop and My Part in Its Downfall was never likely to join the lucrative nostalgia circuit, but former Auteur Luke Haines's idiosyncratic output continues to bewilder and bedazzle. His 18 previous albums in various guises have taken in "terrorist funk" and songs about the Yorkshire Ripper. Now, Rock and Roll Animals is a psychedelic story about rock'n'roll for grownups. Julia Davis is the Jackanory-type storyteller, while Sham 69 singer Jimmy Pursey is cast as a fox, 1950s rocker Gene Vincent is a cat and there's even A Badger Called Nick Lowe. Haines's lyrics fire trademark blasts at public art (The Angel of the North), Led Zeppelin's cultural theft, the post-Brian Jones Stones ("not right") and parents who indulge in rock'n'roll lifestyles when the kids are in bed. However, beneath the sarcastic wit lies warmth and some of his most beautiful songs since Showgirl, which glisten with Bowie-ish 12-string guitars and endearing semi-autobiographical asides. "I'm a wise old bird, but haven't a clue," he sighs. You may well disagree.
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author