Top positive review
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A debut album has no right to be this good.
on 8 March 2006
Although this is Rufus's first, it was the last of the 4 CD's I purchased. I confess I did so out of loyalty and completeness, not expecting it to compare with the wayward brilliance of the Wants.
What I heard exceeded my expectations by a mile, particularly once the sophisticated tunes have been given a chance to lodge in the brain.
The sound-world here is more straightforward than subsequent releases, very much piano-based with various band and orchestral backing. Comparisons with Billy Joel and Elton John are inevitable, and it's difficult to see how any fan of piano-based rock and pop could not enjoy this.
The first four tracks are simply perfect. Foolish Love, with its lush, segmented melodies, Danny Boy with its lagubrious rolling rhythm (in 6/8 time?), while April Fools is the Beatles song they never wrote.
The fourth song, In My Arms, is almost a duet with his sister Martha. Maybe I'm biased, but having Martha on backing vocals is like sprinkling magic dust on a song. Can't help thinking back to Emmylou Harris doing the same for Gram Parsons and Bob Dylan.
Other highlights are the graceful Barcelona, fully justifying its 7 minute length, and Sally Ann, a wistful show tune. There's not a song out of the 12 here that doesn't deserve its place on this impressive debut. Say what you want about his voice, Rufus's talent as a songwriter is undeniable.
Best time to enjoy: late afternoon/early evening.