Most helpful positive review
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Acoustic album, by turns hard-edged, sprightly and tender
on 19 January 2001
Well, it's not quite acoustic, but the tone is certainly softer and more reflective than their other records. As a collection of songs it was their best album since Darklands and there's a lot to love in these seventeen (generally brief) songs. There's atmosphere, melancholy, and some surprising optimism, plenty of strong melodies and sensitive arrangements. This was the first record on which the Reid brothers wrote separately, and their contributions are distinct. William writes most of the album, his songs ranging from the wistful to the bleak to the cautiously optimistic as on the closing 'Feeling Lucky' ('I've found someone who knows me/ And she still wants to hold me'). Jim's songs are more poppy, the best beinng the lovely ballad 'You've Been a Friend'. The one song they co-wrote, 'Save Me', is also a highlight. The single 'Sometimes Always', a duet between Jim and Mazzy Star singer Hope Sandovaal, is a classic pop song, and the guest vocals of ex-Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan lend the sombre but redemptive 'God Help Me' a depth and authenticity that adds to the album's appeal. The album's title reflects both its hazier mood and the band's fall from critical grace, but this album, cruelly underappreciated at the time, is actually a great collection of songs which more than merits attention.