12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Not their best but a good introduction,
This review is from: Book Of Lightning [CD + DVD] (Audio CD)
The Waterboys new album Book Of Lightning is an excellent introduction to one of favourite bands as it uniquely includes many of the musical styles that lead Waterboy Mike Scot has pedalled over the last 20+ years. Not that you would be able to tell this though from the opening tracks...
The first three tracks The Crash Of Angel Wings, Love Will Shoot You Down and Nobody's Baby Anymore are a return to the mainstream rock of much of the 1993 LP Dream Harder though some may also argue that they are a kind of modern version of the famously monikered Big Music of the 80s. New guitarist Leo Abrahams is consistently present with some fine clipped playing but the fellow who fiddles Steve Wickham is almost entirely absent. Fortunately though Wickham soon makes his highly talented presence felt as the album continues...
Other tracks on Book Of Lightning are more suited to Steve's fiddle playing. These include folk-rock songs in the vein of the Fisherman's Blues LP, Mike Scott's distinctive piano "ballads" and even a nod to the more introverted style of his 90s solo LPs on the closing track The Man with The Wind At His Heels. Of the folk-rock songs, Everybody Takes A Tumble is destined to be a (live) Waterboys classic with its catchy fiddle and organ reels. The other lengthy song of similar style, She Tried To Hold Me is also melodically memorable but contains some of the worst rhyming couplets ever written. The guess-the-next-line game reaches its zenith when Scott rhymes uranium with cranium! So cheesily bad it's almost kind of good...
Thankfully the lyrics are better on the piano-written songs such as the nicely oblique Strange Arrangement and You In The Sky, originally released on the Collectors Edition of Fisherman's Blues in 2006 and newly rerecorded here. The other piano song, the sparse Sustain includes an excellent piercing trumpet solo by long-time Waterboys alumni Roddy Lorimer. It's good to hear him once again on a Waterboys record.
Initial copies of the Book Of Lightning LP include a special limited edition DVD, "The Travels Of The Waterboys: A Unique Compendium Of The Band's On Tour Home Movies". A nice souvenir though the hand-held cameras and snippets of songs grate a bit though a full acoustic live version of The Pan Within at the end of the disc makes serious amends. It's also strange though refreshing to see serious man of mystery Mike Scott larking about so much in the film. Maybe he is a kind of regular guy, albeit a very artistically talented one, after all...
Regular guy, artist or visionary, Scott has produced an excellent album in Book Of Lightning with songs harking back to the various musical styles he has adopted over the last 20 years. It's not perfect yet the best moments are stunning and superb and are well worth a place as an introduction or addition to the Waterboys product in your music collection.