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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2009
After a friend recommended the album, and seeing the video for Ghosts on MTV2 (which looks like a bit of German art-house stop animation with a sock rabbit), I felt compelled to buy this.

Four Winds is a good example of the Lightning Seed's trademark fatalism delivered with a typical English air of quirkily befuddled melancholy, and set to jangly, uplifting pop tunes which counteracts the bitter aftertaste of Brodie's lyrics. If people want to feel utterly miserable after listening to sad songs, it's up to them (and I would recommened Bjork, Yoko Ono and maybe Radiohead). Before I get lynched, I am aware of the personal tragedy behind it, but this album is a masterclass on how to write decent sad, yet reflective tunes without giving the listener the urge to slash their wrists.

Stand out tracks on this album, in my opinion are "On a Day Like This", "Don't Walk on By" and yes, "Ghosts" which I feel are near perfect examples to showcase how complete conviction and pure emotion can be conveyed intelligently and thoughtfully, set to deceptively simple sounding melodies wonderfully, which is part of the Lightning Seed's unique and endearing charm.

Why 4 stars? It's a lovely, melodic album with wonderful lyrics and catchy tunes, which is great to listen to - but that's it. People who are hoping for a new direction will be shocked about the turn towards a sound wich is reminiscent of more stripped down version of Cloudcuckooland, but pleasantly so - other fans will see his as a nod towards Brodie's solo work.

With this being the first Lightning Seeds album in 10 years, some fans might be a bit disappointed with there being only 10 tracks on offer. But with all good song-writing, it's about quality and not quantity, and this album really does leave you wanting more. Writing this review, with Four Winds playing away, on a gloriously sunny day after a week from hell, I want to go and fight the world again (and dig out Cloudcuckooland later!).

I salute you on some great songwriting, just don't leave the next Lightning Seeds album for another decade next time, Ian!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic sixties tinged album by the Lightning Seeds. It is a lot less electronic than their (his) previous efforts - with quite a bit of influence from Broudie's Tales Told album. The lyrics deserve special mention - they have huge emotional depth - again, the standout track for me in this regard is Four Winds which I find almost heartbreakingly sad. Although not mawkish, the understated yearning for a loved one and expression of loss is almost enough to bring a tear to my eye. Prior to having heard this song, the Lightning Seeds song which would strike such an emotional chord with me was "All the Things" on the Tilt album. Four Winds (the song) is engenders the polar opposite feeling but is no less brilliant for it.

Having said all that about the opening track, the remainder of the album positively bounce along and is all over too soon. Let's hope we don't have to wait another 10 years for the next Seeds' effort.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 20 May 2009
The Lightning Seeds almost - but never quite - managed to quite make it to the top of the 'Britpop' tree back in the mid 1990s. Perhaps a little light and sappy to command mass-appeal, 1994's "Jollification" will always be remembered as their career high, despite being later followed-up by two further albums ('Dizzy Heights' and 'Tilt') which, to some extent, offered a stronger range of tracks, the latter moving away from the gentle breeziness that had become their trademark. Also, achieving a career-first, 'Tilt' even boasted some rather decent lyrics, including 'Tales of the Riverbank,' Broudie's tribute to the Liverpool dockers and their suffering at the hands of the media at the end of the 20th Century. The album bombed; Broudie blamed Sony for not marketing it properly, and the group, minus a few festival appearances, disappeared.

Perhaps The Seed's ability to never quite cut it live never really helped; Ian Broudie has never been entirely pleasing as a live performer, and despite being a thoroughly decent bloke, he lacks the on-stage presence and charisma of many of his counterparts. That said, The Lightning Seeds, to some extent, personify high quality, grownup pop and they're everything that the embarrassing efforts that are presently cluttering much of the UK charts could ever dream of replicating. Indeed, the person writing this review has never stopped listening to The Seeds, and was even lucky enough to see them live at London's Astoria back in 1997. Make no mistake:- they have been responsible for some truly brilliant tracks (Change, Perfect and Dizzy Heights being just a few), and whilst Ian Broudie seemed to use variations of the word `lie' in every other song he pens, they've remained a firm favourite. They were also the group who were part-responsible for one of the only half-decent football anthems ever written, and whilst Ian's 2004 solo effort never shifted more than an embarrassing number of copies (I sometimes feel I bought the only one), the point remains; it deserved to do rather a lot better.

So what of 'Four Winds?' In short, Broudie has delivered more of the pre-1997 Lightning Seeds sounds. It's gentle, it's summery and it's totally pleasing. That said, it doesn't offer anything new, but does this matter? Tracks like 'Things just happened' and 'Ghosts' are all jolly and breezy enough, and the album, for the most part, plays along merrily. There's something mildly `studenty' and even amateur-sounding about the production of several of the tracks and I remain uncertain if the Country and western 'guitar twang' sounds on a number of the songs really 'works', yet it could be argued that these little touches really only add to the charm of it all and also silence those critics who would likely argue that it's merely the "same old seeds." This it may be, but it's the same old seeds with a pleasing difference! Indeed, whilst songs like 'don't walk on by' aren't amongst their best, they remain seriously catchy pop.

It's hard to comment on the LP any further, as the tracks are all so unassuming and pleasant that saying anything particularly positive or negative about it all just isn't possible! But since picking it up on Monday afternoon, it's been playing with me everywhere (Ok, Ok, I know it's only Wednesday but it'll be staying with me at least until the weekend). Fair dos: If every one of my wishes could be fulfilled, for every 'Said and done,' we'd get something soulful and moody to balance out so much of the light and gentle pop but then, that would just be predictable, and that's something The Lightning Seeds don't do.

Welcome back and don't make this your last album Ian.
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on 23 September 2009
Well, one thing is for sure - this is a Lightning Seeds album. The trouble is, where it fits in to everything else Mr Broudie has done. It sits comfortably within the entire body of the Seeds work, but is so flat and dull nothing particularly stands out. I'd never expect to see them reach the dizzy heights (pun intended) of Jollification again, but even their follow up albums to it had some amazing and memorable tracks.

I appreciate the sentiment and soul Broudie has put into this album, but it's just a album that goes nowhere and ultimately doesn't deliver. It's more akin to a collection of B-sides if you ask me.

Pity, but par for the course of just about every new release from bands I like that have been around for more than 10 years. 2009 was meant to be the (return) year of Pop, but it's turned out to be the year of playing it safe.
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on 29 May 2010
Having gone 10 years with nothing from The lightning Seeds,(I knew nothing of Ian's Solo album untill very recently) I was very pleased when radio 2 announced the realise of Four Winds. It is a little on the short side, I admit, but does have, in my opinion 10 excellent songs. It is a little different from the previous albums, with less of the electronic keyboard and more acoustic guitar. There are some beautiful melodies and harmonies on this album on tracks like, Said and Done, On A Day Like This and I'll Be Around. My favourite song is the final track, I Still Feel The Same, which would make a great single, it is such a feel good sounding song and is very catchy and lively.
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on 6 July 2009
Good to have Ian Broudie back doing his own thing. He still has that rare knack of original songwriting, shown on the title track, but with padding like "I'll be around" which features "but hey if the world gets you down/call my name out loud I'll be around". A far cry from "Hazy petrol nights/crimson sun on traffic lights". But even though Broudie is nearly as old as me he still captures lost love better than most younger artists. It's not Jollification but its still good.
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on 10 June 2010
What a long time to wait for another Lightning Seeds album but given Ian's problems not surprised.It's a great album though and worth the wait. I went to see them last month at the Stables in Milton Keynes and although a bit rough round the edges at times, enjoyed the concert. Bit surprised he only did one song from the new album as I thought he was supposed to be promoting it!
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on 15 June 2009
No sign of rustiness following Broudie's long absence. Four Winds is a soulful album full of well-considered songs and meaningful lyrics. More like Tilt than any of his other albums and certainly bears little similarity to the likes of Jollification, but well worth a few quid of anyone's money.
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on 17 October 2014
Stunning masterpiece, Broudie has written and recorded his opus magnum, bitter sweet treasure, beautiful mesmerising melodies contrasting heart crushing lyrics. This record is a rarity heartfelt authentic songs that touch your soul.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
What a dissappointment this was. Why? Because the Lightning Seeds have now abandoned their synthesiser style and gone all meloncholy and serious. Ian Broudie's Tales Told was depressing enough, but this is just as bad. They have changed for the worse and i only listened to this twice. Steer clear of it at all costs! A sad day.
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