This is The Waterboys 11th album in a 30-ish year career, they have been through big music to irish jiggery pokery (and loads of fiddly diddlyness). For this album Mike Scott decamped to Nashville, the country vibe of that place and southern 70’s rock are all over this record.

Loads of Hammond organ and bluesy guitar abound but there’s a distinct lack of Steve Wickhams violin and therein lies a bit of a problem. It’s not a terrible album, neither a world beater but it just seems to ramble on at it’s own pace, very workmanlike. Mike Scott's lyrical storytelling always a Waterboys strongpoint just about carries it through though.

I Can See Elvis is a homage to the king with a story of dead rockers (Keith Moon and John Lennon namechecked) even Joan of Arc and Plato get a mention with a few soul do waps thrown in. Another track The Girl Who Slept for Scotland rolls along to a mellow groove but nearly treads into M.O.R territory but is saved by some lovely piano and woooahoos! in the chorus.

Two personal fav’s for me are Still A Freak which is a rock out harking back to the early Waterboys period and the best track at over ten minutes long. Album closer Long Strange Golden Road will go down a storm live. Modern Blues is still well worth checking out.

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Stewart Gibson 7 Articles
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