Ever since Mike Scott first brought The Waterboys to public attention their career has been marked by storied departures. Staking out bold, new territory with fresh approaches and inspirational collaborators has been the defining factor of Scott’s creative flow. Now Out Of All This Blue, The Waterboys’ 12th and first double album is maybe the most brilliantly daring and accomplished reinvention of The Waterboys to date.
Mike and fellow travellers, fiddler Steve Wickham, Muscle Shoals bass legend David Hood and Deep South keyboard wizard Brother Paul, play like demons on a mission. But it’s Scott’s use of hip hop recording techniques – drum loops, samples and found sounds that ground the songs’ soulful awakenings – that gives the album a particularly thrilling momentum. Refusing to be cowed by past achievements Scott’s determination to forge new ground is preeminent. “I always wanted to be better than anyone else,” he admits. “Cohen and Dylan may be above me in the tower of song but from my own generation I’ll take any of them on. Let them beat this.”
Out Of All This Blue contains multitudes – as befits the man who first heard the Big Music growing up in Edinburgh in the 60s and has followed his dream down all the days since. Protest, eulogy, soulful horns, heady strings, blisteringly hot guitars – Scott’s own playing makes a significant impact throughout, particularly on Morning Came Too Soon. There are swaggering funk-fried memories of love that never was (Santa Fe) and free-flowing celebrations of new love’s ecstasy (Didn’t We Walk On Water).
And finally Out Of All This Blue is a reminder that Scott’s own sense of pop, which generated How Long Will I Love You (a smash by Ellie Goulding) and the perennial favourite The Whole Of The Moon, is still strong. “Sometimes my music comes round to a place where it touches pop,” says Mike. “I love when that happens and this is one of those times.”
Tickets go on sale Thursday 21 February at 9 am Ulster Hall Box Office (028) 9033 4455 | Book online http://www.ulsterhall.co.uk