2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Music worth listening to......,
This review is from: Human Conditions (Audio CD)
Yes, I read the 1-star Amazon review, and also some terrible slatings in the British press, but I got so much in the way of connection from 'Urban Hymns' and 'Alone with Everybody' that I had to listen for myself. So, one filthy Friday afternoon, I slid 'Human Conditions' into the CD changer and drove onto the M25 in monsoon conditions for the 3-hour drive home.
My initial impression was 'good job it was only a tenner'. But more miles followed and the sounds began to find their place. What starts off seeming as crowded as that wet motorway actually has a lot of space around it. Others have said that excessive running times and plodding tempos are the order of the day, but not to my 34-year-old-ears. All the songs are interesting and the album works comfortably as a package, though I agree with the Sunday Times' opinion that some of it sounds like a demo version - the intro to 'Sounds of Silence' in particular. I would also have preferred an acoustic version of 'Nature is the Law' to wind-down the running order, rather than the pseudo-Elvis number that made the final cut.
My only real problem is with the drums. Pete Salisbury is a lovely player, but he's too low in the mix and why did they need someone to programme alongside him? What a waste of time - what's so wrong with setting up the kit, engineeering the sound and getting on with it?! Certain frustratingly ordinary and repetitive rhythms loses them a point and a half, but I can't vote 3.5 stars!
Whatever, when one's favourite track changes with every listen you know you're on to a winner. 'Human Conditions' matches every thinking thirty-something's frame of reference. Check the message - imagine the songs in a live context and open your mind to what is being said. Ashcroft hasn't yet made a gap you want in your music collection, so spend your tenner and give the man some of your time.