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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 15 May 2013
Even as a long-time fan of Thea's, I was a bit apprehensive about this one, what with the last two side projects - the rather pointless Dylan album (John Wesley Harding) and the rather better Sandy Denny release (Don't Stop Singing) -- not really summoning up the full Thea magic for me. Then there was the somewhat glossy looking album cover and the upbeat and string-laden "Love Came Looking For Me" single and it was all beginning to look a bit slick for my tastes. Add to that the fact that I've spent the last year with an unprecedented fixation on classical music (I'm in the middle of a Bruckner bender right now) leaving me completely unable to connect with any new music, or even a lot of my old music.

To my surprise and great delight, this is an absolutely brilliant album -- up there with her best, I think. I know, I know, fans always say that kind of thing, but I'm really impressed by the subtle stylistic changes she's made: "Regardless", with its orchestral arrangements, is lusher, denser, more layered than anything she's done before, and contains some of the most heart-stoppingly beautiful songs she's ever recorded. As far as I can tell, the theme -- and I realise I'm being presumptuous, here -- is motherhood, which she tackles with her usual sharpness, forthrightness and lyrical dexterity, forgoing any sentimentality that you might expect with this sort of subject. There are a couple of outright odd songs -- "Spit and Shine" seems, to me, to be poking fun at the kind of middle-class mother she dreads becoming (with a really curious African beat), while "Punctuation", which details a conversation between God, Adam and someone called Lucy, still has me stumped. But these are still really enjoyable, and the rest of the album ranges from joyous rockers ("Love Came Looking For Me", "Start As You Mean to Go On") to moments of such sublime, swooning beauty that even on first listening on the way to work, I was tempted to collar random fellow commuters and say, "Do you know what I'm listening to? Have you any idea how MAGNIFICENT music can be? Do you know how LUCKY I feel?" Even "The Road", which I didn't really care for when released as a fans-only track, takes on a driving, string-driven and thoroughly exhilirating whole new life in this context. I have since gone on to listen to "Regardless" two or three times a day for seven days straight, and can't wait to listen to it again.

Yes, it's THAT kind of great.

Buy it and feel love, heartbreak and joy all at once -- I'm certainly glad I did. And I will never doubt Thea again!
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For someone who released her debut as comparably recently as 1998 it seems that Thea Gilmore has unloaded an enormous amount of music in a relatively short career. It is to her eternal credit that on every outing since "Burning Dorothy" she has never faltered on the scale of quality and seems to mature slowly but inexorably on each release. Her brilliant Christmas album "Strange Communion" forms as much a component of the festive season in this part of the world as holly, ivy and daft jumpers.

You sense that after repeated listens to her new album "Regardless" there is a distinct possibility that this new album may well be a stayer that will be enjoyed over and over again. Gilmore has had a little sojourn since 2011 to bring up her second son and it has given her time for reflection and contemplation which she has poured into these new and often string laden songs. The bar is raised immediately with the the opener "Something to sing about" which has a nice soulful vibe, a great vocal and a chorus where her passion shines through as she sings "Don't tell me I've been wasting time/ got a few minutes left before blackout/ we may be dancing on the line/ but there's still something to sing about.". Next up is the expansive "This is how you find a way" where the huge strings are even more pronounced and Gilmore's breathy vocal at their absolute peak. Even on first listens you realise quickly that there are beautiful melodies buried in these tracks waiting to surface on repeated plays and burrow into your musical sub-consciousness. The excellent title track is perhaps a bit more like Thea Gilmore of "Murphys Heart" era with some of the breezy folk sound to be found on that record. The wordy radio friendly track "Spit and shine" has almost an African feel to it although this reviewer prefers the lush balladry of the sad lament and the albums best song "I will not disappoint you" which is both effortlessly beautiful and enhanced by a wonderful aching cello backdrop.

In the album's second part songs like "Start the way you mean to go on" and the pounding single "Love came looking for me" are much more of a soft rock approach to music than she has previously employed and potentially more commercial than previous works. It is a significant departure from say the poignant acoustic covers of "Loft Music" but it shows a musician prepared to move on and risk finding new listeners for her music while others depart. As Gilmore declared in a recent interview "Regardless "is a completely different sound and it is a complete departure as it is much more cinematic and filmic. It is also a much lusher sounding record. I do keep coming back to this but I think that it is a much more grown up sounding record". The track "This Road" as at its heart a good old rock sensibility should however appeal to all comers although "Let be known" is the one song which has yet to properly impress. The album is rounded off "My Friend Goodbye" where all the parts come together producing in an almost alt country ballad infused with pedal steel and the best singing on the album. It is a fitting conclusion to the new album "Regardless" an album that consolidates Gilmore's reputation and furthers her credentials as one of the best singer songwriters recording in music. Some 14 albums in she is still taking risks, still ploughing her own furrow and still making great music.
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on 11 May 2013
Thea is one of the finest singer/songwriters working at the moment, and has been for some time. It's a mystery to me why she is not far better known - she should be considered a national treasure. Perhaps it is because she is an independant and does not have the big money behind her.

Joan Baez said she had been waiting for another songwriter like Bob Dylan to come along and has finally found it in Thea, and Thea is certainly in this class.

I have listened to this album a few times now (in fact, I have not been able to stop!) and think it is probably one of her best, if not the best. The songs are memorable and there are several killer tunes - highlights for me are the rocky "Let It Be Known" and "Spit and Shine" and the moving, almost country ballads "My Friend Goodbye" and 'This Road'.

Brilliant stuff, may Thea keep 'em coning for a long, long time....
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on 5 May 2013
Yet another great album from, in my opinion, one of the UK's greatest current singer/song writers. Intelligent lyrics, great melodies and an amazing voice. Existing Thea fans won't be disappointed but if she's new to you then her music is well worth getting to know.
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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 15 May 2013
I agree with the enthusiastic reviews already here - this is an excellent album. It's among Thea Gilmore's best work, which is really saying something. After John Wesley Harding, which I didn't really see the point of to be honest, and the very good "collaboration" with Sandy Denny, Gilmore has returned to writing songs which are purely her own and which feature her trademark lovely tunes, terrific musical structures and thoughtful, intelligent lyrics. Her voice has always been simply fabulous and has lost none of it's quality, and she has a growing maturity in putting a song across.

There is a fine variety here with, for example, the rocking single Love Came Looking For Me, the atmospheric title track (which is a real stunner), the magnificent, declamatory Let It be Known, the lovely This Road - a song to her children - and the old, spiky Thea is still there in the edgy Spit And Shine. There isn't a duff song here, although some are stronger than others, of course. The arrangements are fuller than they often have been, but beautifully handled so that you get no feeling of corporate gloss over the songs, and the band are as good as ever.

Thea Gilmore is one of Britain's very best, in my view. She writes really good music and terrific lyrics and is a top-class singer and performer. I thought Murphy's Heart was a near-masterpiece. This isn't (yet) quite in that league for me, but it's very, very good. She says that she's "still trying to change the world, one minor chord at a time," and for me she's managing it. As Keats might have said, I have been half in love with easful Thea, and Regardless has only strengthened my love of her music and my deep admiration for her. I hope this fine album does something to gain her the wider recognition she richly deserves. Very warmly recommended.
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on 12 February 2015
Regardless is Thea Gilmore's most consistent album, and quite possibly her best. With this, and her extensive back catalogue, she certainly deserves to be more well-known than she appears to be.

I waited a while before getting this album; in truth, I stuck it on my Amazon wishlist and waited for someone to get it for me for my birthday, or Christmas, and then forgot all about it and it was quite a surprise when it appeared from beneath the wrapping paper. Well, thanks to my brother-in-law for giving it to me and more fool me for waiting so long to get it, because Regardless is quite possibly Thea Gilmore's best album. It's certainly her most consistent, I think; there are tracks I always skip past on previous albums but this one gets played in full (mind you, that could just be me and my taste; some of the tracks I avoid others seem to love).

There's a more mature, worldly-wise feel about these songs too. The crackling effervescence of passion and lust explored in 2010's Murphy's Heart has been replaced by a deeper, stronger bond of love and there's a sense now that instead of searching for something, Thea Gilmore is certain about what where she is and what she stands for and one of the tracks here, Let It Be Known, could be a personal manifesto. It's not all songs about love though; there's still a spit of disgust at people and things that, frankly, deserve it and time to explore new musical styles in the fourth track, Spit and Shine (this reminds me of some of the tracks on Ian Anderson's solo album Walk Into Light from 1983, but it's better than that).

So I highly recommend this album, it's a fine piece of work from a fine artist who is able to put into words and music things that many of us may feel but can't articulate. Top stuff!
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on 8 May 2013
Another wonderful album from Thea Gilmore.
She has always been outstandingly talented but has definitely grown into her craft, there is a maturity and polish to her songwriting displayed here which makes this her most complete album yet.
A tour de force from an artist at the top of her game.

Catch her live if you can, Thea never disappoints.
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on 18 July 2013
What on earth can I say about this album? - and the truly remarkable and beautiful voice of Thea Gilmore?

There aren't the words to even begin to describe how much I absolutely adore both of them. Her music as always is just fantastic, and again she astonishes and delights her fans with such incredibly well-observed and simply heart-breakingly tender lyrics, that just reach inside and touch my heart every single time that I listen to this. And I really could listen to this particular album of her's all day long!

If I had but only one wish to be granted to me in this lifetime? - then I would wish to be able to write and sing just like Thea Gilmore...she certainly 'will not disappoint you'...x
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on 7 May 2013
If you're only just hearing about Thea from Radio 2 pushing this as Album of the Week or were dared to buy a CD by an artist you've never heard of and this was the first in the Amazon Top 100, then you have picked a good place to start listening to British folk rock's shiniest buried treasure. Regardless covers all of Thea's wide range from gentle ballads to thumping jumping tracks that will make you look for a cigarette lighter to wave over your head.

Buy it, listen to it, love it. Then take out a second mortgage on the dog to buy her other albums.
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on 2 June 2013
Well, one reviewer reckons that if you've not heard Thea before, then this is a good place to start. I'd definitely disagree with that sentiment - just like 'Long Player, Late Bloomer' is NOT a good place to start with Ron Sexsmith.

So what's the connection? Well, I guess that Ron (as borne out by the documentary about the album) decided that while all the 'top music icons' in sundry were eulogising over his music (Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Lesley Fiest, Paul Brady - the list goes on and on) the great unwashed general public were too busy buying garbage by Beyonce, Coldplay, U2, Robbie Williams, Adele and all the other hopeless 'O2 Arena fillers' you can think of. Album reviews were always 5-star, sales were usually 1-star!! So off he went to Bob Rock (rock producer of limited good-taste) who had a track record of commercial success with some top rockers. Result = 'Long Player, Late Bloomer' - Ron's most 'accessible' album for the average punter (accessible is an expression meaning able to be enjoyed by morons) but also his worst album by a country mile. Jaunty 'sing-along' arrangements, top-drawer but soul-less session musicians 'going through the motions' and digital wizardry keeping his slightly off-kilter voice (one of his most appealing assets) 'on pitch'. BUT - it was his most successful in terms of sales - he made some money!!! However, he has now (thankfully) returned to top form (dumping Bob Rock and returning to Mitchell Froom as producer) with his recent Forever Endeavour album that has restored the faith of his admirers and turned in good sales as well.

Well, Thea has had the same idea. Lots of great reviews for her previous albums (Strange Communion, Murphy's Heart and Liejacker are all good starting points for new recruits) but sales were not going to buy her a country estate in Cheshire (where she lives). However, her most recent Sandy Denny tribute CD (also excellent) got a lot of publicity (TV interviews and performances etc) and her 'London' song was the theme for BBC Olympic coverage. So 'mainstream' attention was on her so why not take advantage 'a la Ron'? Let's do an 'accessible' album of 'drive time' tunes and see what happens!

So off she goes and records 'Regardless'. Just like Ron's album, the song quality is pretty well all there still (sharp lyrics as usual) but they are lost, or rather totally swamped to the point of being submerged in a deluge of treacly over-production - truly irritating, over-wrought string arrangements that subscribe to the 'more is more' school of thought. Subtle it is not. I guess the 'Radio 2 album of the week' selection says a lot about it's appeal - easy listening for people who want to hum-along and not bother with 'details' like lyrics.

Perhaps Thea was told that a lot of her current fans would not like this musical direction but she decided she'd carry on 'regardless', hence the title! There may be some serious money in it!! - and who can blame her I suppose?

I'm a long time Thea admirer and have seen her on a number of occasions at a small and intimate venue (The Brook in Southampton - with her son Egan on violin - he must have been all of three!) and my affection for her music has made me give this three stars - I can't bring myself to go down to two stars but if I was being brutally objective I guess that's the direction I'd be going.

Never mind, I have great faith in the supremely talented Nigel Stonier (a.k.a. 'Mr' Thea Gilmore) pulling her back from the brink (of commercial success??) - althought I must say that as a bass player he'd make a good plumber!!! - Thea - employ a proper bass player - guitarists don't make it a bassists!!). However, I guess it's easy to be 'precious' about such decisions - if there's a pot of money to be had, who knows if I'd be any different? However, not everyone 'sells out' - I saw Terry Reid recently and he's been 100% true to himself - he turned down the Led Zeppelin vocalist job and did the same with Deep Purple - and so he made no money!! But he's still great - he's STILL the original, undiluted, vintage Terry Reid. On the other hand, look at Rod Stewart who took the opposite path - he went from totally superb (listen to 'Gasoline Alley') to being a perma-tanned, show-biz, middle of the road joke (albeit a rich one!). I wonder which way Thea will go?

I'll just keep my fingers crosssed for the next album!
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