on 25 May 2010
If the definition of a great album is you find yourself unwittingly humming the tunes and filling in with the wrong words as you have neglected to listen carefully enough to catch the exact lyric then this is a great album.
On the first listen I was satisfied though not convinced that this would live long enough on the playlist for more considered listening, but the tunes hooked me in, the lyric pulled the reel and it caught me.
Its much lighter than the brooding shade of his debut What is Love For, but its no less a work of great craft, im glad of return of the catchy tune, the return of the killer line and the poets observartion. For me Justin Currie's skill has always been the light of his music with the shade of the sometimes dark lyric hung around like the sun rising after a winter storm to realise the result of all the howling nights fearful noises is something quite beautiful.
For the Del Amitri fan, this is an album closer to Change Everything than anything thats come since. Its full of tunes that sound like they could be Twisted era b-sides and that is intended as a huge compliment. In the MP3 era I listen more to 'Long Way Down', 'Life By Mistake' et al than 'Roll To Me', or 'Driving With The Brakes On'.
Ive listened to the album in the blaring sun, car windows down, full blast and quiet alone on the patio at 1.30am, such has it unexpectedly seeped in to my early summer.
This album deserves to be heard. The singer and the songs deserve your time and attention. 'As Long As You Dont Come Back' and 'The Way That It Falls' should do as a taste, be aware that addiction is possible.
on 9 May 2010
By my reckoning (discounting the B-sides album) the 9th long player of the musical career of Justin Currie, and he still has the knack of delivering quality songs which get you humming after a couple of listens, and then become permanent reminders of loves lost and found and mulled over after more plays.
As with another reviewer pointed out, this is closer to his writing for Del Amitri, with more 'up-tempo' songs than his 1st solo offering 'What Is Love For'. Some of the songs are already familiar listening, songs previewed on his myspace site and on the UK tour of 2007.
As ever, the key thing is the lyrical craft, and there is no disappointment in the wordplay here. Musically it plays safer than 'What Is Love For' but still has great solos from Mick Slaven, and the drumming of Jim McDermott. The humour of the lyrics in the Uncle Devil Show project appears here. Justin also indulges his epic writing once more, creating another diatribe in 'The Fight to be Human'. It may be 20 years since 'Nothing Ever Happens' but this songwriter is making it happen with each new release. Highly Recommended.
on 3 June 2010
I've read a handful of reviews for this below-the-radar album both here on Amazon and elsewhere on the Internet. It's slightly perverse that, whilst Justin's sales barely register these days, his critical stock has probably never been higher. And I'll have to supply another pat on the back - this is a cracking album, a thought-provoking and melodic work from start to finish. Not sure about the artwork (though there's clearly an ageing picture in Mr Currie's attic - he's doing well for a man in his mid 40s, lucky sod). That said, as I stopped taking an interest in art when Tony Hart introduced Chas to Morph (the Scrappy Doo of plasticine), I'm maybe not best qualified to pass judgement.
Song by song, then:
1) A Man with Nothing To Do: proof that Currie writes catchier verses and middle eights than choruses, this opens the album in fine style. Not sure I'd have made it the first - and probably only - single (instead, see 5 and 8), but nonetheless a portent of good things and a fair representation of his reasonably chipper mood.
2) Anywhere I'm Away from You: probably my least favourite song on the album. That's not to say it's bad, and musically it's a step in a different direction, but nothing grabs me aside from the 'ba-da' backing vocals in the final verse.
3) At Home Inside of Me: devilishly catchy with lyrics darker than an empty cinema.
4) You'll Always Walk Alone: great title, but he labours it rather. It's a fine song and one that seems to have caught the imagination of the professional critics, but to these amateur ears it's a little too redolent of his first solo album (which I call 'Justin does knees-up')
5) Can't Let Go of Her Now: I just saw the fantastic Pony Club vid of this on YouTube (the dancing bit made me chuckle) and it's what inspired me to write this review. 10-15 years ago, this would have got the Dels in the top 10 and it's his best poppy song since 'Not where it's at'. Deserves a wider audience.
6) The Fight to be Human: does anyone else own the song 'Sea Man' by Don McLean? Mid-late 1970s album track? Melodic neighbours I'd say, but sentimentally very different as whilst McLean (a man ahead of his time) is getting all green and trying to save the world, Currie (a man of straw - no need for any chronology) is trying to save himself. It's powerful stuff and the rightful centrepiece of the album - though not, by a long shot, its best tune
7) Ready To Be: good, solid rock/ pop song akin to something from the Change Everything era. And that's a good thing
8) The Way That It Falls: it's very rare that Currie does songs in a minor key, but this is a gorgeous, haunting ballad. First heard on YouTube a couple of years back, the album version is beautifully arranged and enhances his piano version. You know, I think this might just be the best song he's written. Only in my humble opinion, of course.
9) As Long As You Don't Come Back: a song with a wink in its eye, this is another tune that's been around for a while. Fortunately, it is a welcome lingerer: the whiff of an old flame's perfume rather than the stale wind they've broken into your settee over the years. The Germans call songs like these an 'Ohrwurm', apparently - how appropriate. Good grief, that's three senses in one song review: sight, smell and hearing. Is that a record? (Cue: 'no, what you're reviewing is...get on with it')
10) Everyone I Love: I'm guessing Justin's family and friends know him well enough by now to know that he's exercising his creativity and not venting his spleen, for this is truly a nasty piece of work. Either that or he puts emoticons on his lyric sheets to avoid misinterpretation.
11) Baby, You Survived: continues his traditon of having a comma in the last song of an album. It's a lovely, sweeping ballad with his best middle eight in ages. For his next album, am hoping the last tune will be called 'Reykjavik, Iceland' as a way of continuing the punctuation theme and simultaneously paying homage to 80s comedy. Justin, on the off-chance you're reading this, surely a comma-song competition would be a belting idea for your web site?
So there you go. Assuming you're still awake, highly recommended you buy this.
on 9 July 2010
I'm not going to go through each track...others are better at that than me. I looked forward to this album coming out, but I have to say I was a bit...well...not exactly disappointed, just un-moved. Mr Currie's last album "What is Love For" was superb. A really outstanding collection. But this one doesn't seem to match it. It's good though, if unrequited love, regret, angst and some bitterness are your thing. There are some quite "commercial" tunes on there but there are some outstanding tracks too("The Way That It Falls" for example). Like other reviewers have noticed, there are a lot of Del Amitri ghosts in there and that was a long, long time ago. "What is Love For" didn't seem to suffer this trait so I wonder if the men in suits have told Justin to pull his finger out and make some pop songs again. Whatever. So with 12 reviews now you'll have a good idea if this album's for you. I'm listening to it now and enjoying it actually, but it's background rather than something I'd listen to in the dark, late at night.
on 12 June 2010
Justin Currie has been one of the best and most consistent songwriters of the last 20 years, previously with Del Amitri and notably with his 2 solo albums. Having recently seen him with his band in Wolverhampton his ability to add even more to these new songs and the back catalogue live makes one realise that his is a real talent. Typically critical reviews and a small but enthusiastic fan base often don't translate into sales and wider recognition but I suppose that's a fact of music industry life. This album is noticeably less gloomy than the previous - but he does do gloomy VERY well in a happy/sad kind of way - and show the range of his songwriting and vocal skills with a sympathetic production and great musicians. I'm a big fan of Fyfe Dangerfield and Guillemots and it took a John Lewis TV ad to get some wider interest there, so perhaps Justin's management should be talking to ad agencies with a view to proving the music to an Xmas retail campaign!
on 17 February 2011
Justin Currie has one of those voices. You know, you hear a song start and you instantly recognise the singer after the first word has been sung. And his voice has got richer as he has got older. For me this album is an improvement on his first solo release 'What Is Love For', although I still enjoy listening to that album. Stand out tracks here are: 'A Man With Nothing To Do' 'At Home Inside Me' & 'Can't Let Go of Her Now' which are as catchy and infectious as a Del Amitri song ever was (possibly moreso) Other great tracks are: 'The Way That It Falls' (a dark song about the night) & 'Baby, you survived'...a song in which Justin admits to having spoken of marrying (12 long years after proclaiming in no uncertain terms that he "aint no family man") Justin has clearly matured and his songs & his voice are better for it! This is real music for real music lovers and piddles all over the abundance of pappy, crappy shallow pop music that is all to ubiquitous today!
Justin Currie is perhaps Britain's most under-rated songwriter, someone who can knock off an instantly memorable ditty at will (I'm sure it's much harder than that really) and just can't seem to break into the big time. Given sufficient airplay and exposure this album should achieve this but given the iniquities of the music business I wouldn't bet on it. Which is a great shame. Of course being the "voice" of Del Amitri he should be instantly recognisable to anyone who had any interest in decent music in the nineties and his singing, is top notch as usual. He manages to combine his usual jangly guitar style balladry with jazzy interludes like "Anywhere I'm away from you" and a Beatlesque "You'll always walk alone" which given the title would appear to be a deliberate ploy. This is a fine album. Never has someone's broken heart sounded so good.
on 26 September 2013
I listen to music mostly in the car whilst driving with a car stereo that has a USB stick with about 8gb of music on it. It's usually set to 'shuffle device' which means I get a random playlist whenever I am in the car. I have pretty much all of Del Amitri and Justin Currie's music on it. Yesterday, my car stereo was reset due to a fuse blowing and the 'Shuffle Device' feature switched off. The album that started playing when I next got in my car was this one and it's the first time I've listened through for ages. There really isn't a weak track on the whole of this album and I was waiting for one. All of the Dels albums have one weak track and I always prefered the 'B' sides to the singles, but with each track I realised I'd been saying to myself 'this is a good one' whenever it came up randomly.
As with nearly all of Currie's musings the lyrics are sublime and the songs are short and to the point. There's real melody there, right up front and not hidden behind production or relying on musical gimmicks.
With the release of his third solo album and a possible Del Amitri tour next year (2014), I'd like to think that real songs and real songwriters will regain some popularity again. Check Mr Currie out live and acoustic, he was excellent in Cardiff and 'Little Stars' of 'Lower Reaches' is easily my song of the year.
on 16 June 2010
Beautifully crafted songs, haunting lyrics, wonderful melodies - Justin Currie conveys his feelings so well, you feel you can glimpse inside his soul.
Although musically far mor upbeat than his previous solo CD "What Is Love For ?", his lyrics are as dark and revealing as ever. Seldom has anger been portrayed as well as in "Everyone I Love".
If you are a Del Amitri fan, or just a fan of great songwriting, you will love this. You will find yourself humming the tunes long after the CD has finished.