Top critical review
13 people found this helpful
I like it and so will many of you
on 24 August 2013
This is Justin Currie's 3rd solo album and and although I do not love it as much as the prior two (his first, "What Is Love For" is for me, simply the best album ever made), it is another fine example that once again shows he is a master.
His lyrics are brilliant, as is his voice. I read something that likened his voice to Franks Sinatra, but a more accurate assessment would be that Justin Currie is Frank Sinatra crossed with Franz Kafka. He is quite sincere as either a cynic masquerading as a romantic, or a romantic masquerading as a cynic, and this ambiguity is what makes all of his great songs work.
This album does have a more Del Amitri "feel" than his other solo albums because it contains many more up-tempo songs (not to be confused with "up-beat"), and continues with his trademark Justin-Currie lyrics that are dark, yet somehow still optimistic, and quite funny in that "that was a stab of truth" way.
The first single from the album, "Bend To My Will" starts with a riff from the Eagle's "Already Gone" and ends with "I won't leave her until she bends to my will".
"I Hate Myself For Lovin' You" is the catchiest song (best candidate for a single??) and the second-best song to dance to.
"On My Conscience" is a kitschy/catchy/country-western tune that is great for a country-swing, with ouch lyrics that are funny-mean and show a poor reflection on the character of the character singing the song (vintage Justin Currie).
Some of the tracks do suffer from intrusive instrumentation, especially the percussion (drum machine?) on "Little Stars" and "Priscilla". Unfortunately, "Priscilla" is almost unlistenable because of it, but the lyrics are stellar and this is a great song to hear live. There is a video on you-know-who-tube of "Little Stars" that really shows the power of this song (search for Mrs Craig).
The lyrical standouts: "Into a Pearl" reminds me of the person I wish not to ever be and some dear people I wish better for. "Half of Me" has some of the best lines ever written, and oh yeah, they are about regret and the human struggle to be true, whatever that might mean:
but half of me
knows that half of me regrets
rippin' through the years
without a hope of happiness
but failure never held me any fears
until I had success
but half of me
deserves everything it gets
"Falsetto" re-imagines the standard "Dad doesn't get it" relationship between a father and a son as God and Jesus, and the denouement with a spot-on use of the f-word is quite satisfying.
"Lower Reaches" is missing a nice scather like "Nothing Ever Happens" or "No, Surrender" or "The Fight To Be Human", but there is enough to soothe the long-time Justin Currie fan while hopefully appealing to fans of the Dels who may not have heard him solo and to the new fans I hope will flock his way (baa baa from us all).
Compared to his other albums, this seems a bit more light-weight and is very short; but hey, sometimes you want something a little less deep, and it is still quite good.
Many of his fans (myself included) consider him to be the most underrated songwriter and singer on the planet. "Lower Reaches" is a much more accessible work than his prior solo efforts and may help to change that. And that's what both halves of Justin Currie, singer/songwriter, deserve.