Top positive review
15 people found this helpful
One of the best albums of the year. Don't miss out.
on 7 November 2002
After Paul's patchy last 2 albums, namely 1997's soulless "Heavy Soul" and 2000's moody 'Heliocentric,' I was expecting more of the same with 'Illumination' just being another flashy title to sell another run of the mill album. Fortunately, I have been spectacularly proved wrong. Maybe all his touring since after the 'Heliocentric' album has brought back his inspiration. The first thing the listener notices is the improved production. Brendan Lynch has been dropped and although his production was amazing on 'Wild Wood' and 'Stanley Road' it soon became repetitive and unfocused on 'Heavy Soul' and 'Heliocentric.' Paul has produced himself with some help on some tracks from Simon Dine. The instruments are all beautifully clear and this allows the melody to shine in each song. There are 13 tracks and each deserves its place on the album. The opener, 'Going Places', is one of a number of acoustic delights. Other acoustic type songs include the lush 'Leafy Mysteries,' 'Who Brings Joy,' 'All Good Books' and the closer 'Illumination.' They are all as good as anything on Wild Wood. This album also has a better balance then the previous two as there are some rockers as well such as 'A Bullet For Everyone' and 'Call Me No.5.' 'It's Written in the Stars' is clearly Paul's best single since 1996's Peacock Suit. 'Now the Night is Here' and 'Standing Out in the Universe' are also spectacular songs. The main thing with this album though is that it as many have already stated the title does ring true. It is Paul's happiest album and so much better then the previous two which were the work of an unhappy, moody man entering his 40s. It is definitely already on par with Stanley Road and only time will tell if it is his best album but it certainly could be even better than Wild Wood due to it's superb songwriting and warm atmosphere. Do buy it it is one of the best albums of the year and it will "illuminate" those dark autumn and winter evenings.