Can I re-review this album without mentioning The Stranglers? Damn - just did.
Ok, that's now out the way.
It's important to me that this re-review is a good one for 2 reasons. One is because Hugh is my personal hero and I would love it if everyone that was on Amazon right now bought this album and that it stormed to the top of the charts and he could have another drink from that cup that he quaffed from so deeply in better days. The other is because, actually, all nonsense aside, Hugh Cornwell is one of the best song-writers in British music history and for God's sakes we should all remember that before he bloody well dies and everyone starts saying how great he WAS.
To the album.
Hugh has spent all his money, that much is apparent because he had to drum up the finance ro make this record from pledges from the HC faithful. Well, this was no great surprise to me because the last album, Hoover Dam, was perhaps the most horrible record I had heard ever. It had sounded like a bad jamming session. Now, those of you that are trolling Amazon may delight in me saying this because it verifies that Hugh should never have defected from The Stranglers. OK. But the albums BEFORE that - well Hi Fi, Beyond Elysian Fields and Guilty certainly - are some of the best you could hope to own. Hugh blew his ex-bandmates away with those 3 records. And so Hoover Dam was a monumental dip in hitherto amazing form.
It opens with the title track which sees Hugh almost seem to admit that quitting the Stranglers was, in terms of bad decisions, a bit like opting to take a wee on an electric fence whilst holding a big metal spike in lightning storm. He seems to be admitting that, yeah, it was pretty dumb. He cut his willy off to spite him bellybutton so to speak. Lesson learned.
Next is....a song about Madonna? Um.... What? Yeah apparently so. And although this should get most people excited, this is the absolute turkey of the album. A flat and bland song with a horribly flat and awful vocal. To add to this is - the WORST guitar solo of all time. Ok so Shuglet may not be any David Gilmour but for God's SAKES man. Did he REALLY hear this and think "yep - job done"?
Following this is a song about.....buying stuff. Um.... And it also has a painful guitar solo in which Hugh plays like he isn't hearing the rest of the song. And a chorus which is a total dirge...
Not going well is it?
Let's forget it shall we?
Track 4 sees the album EXPLODE back into form. Trapped In Daily Mail Land is witty, sharp, lovely and drags you back into wanting to love this album. It reminds me of XTC and is Hugh on MEGA top form!
BAM! Here comes track 5 - Bad Vibrations and Hugh is rocking out big style. This will get you going. Awesome! And THANK YOU! But here is a solo befitting of the great man. This will get you air-guitaring big time!
Just when you thought it couldn't get better, track 6 God Is A woman will sit you down and make you realize that this is the same man that wrote all those songs you loved from the glory days. A truly wonderful classic. The only thing I don't like about this song is that most people won't hear it. It. Is. Brilliant. This is Hugh at his sexiest, his best and his most....Hugh!
Track 7 is Love Me Slender and bugger me if Hugh doesn't court some of that old controversy by basically saying that fat women are ugly. Whooooah! Easy now Hugh!!
Track 8 is the joint best track on the album with God is a Woman and it reminds anyone instantly that THIS MAN was the man that wrote all those songs from The Stranglers we all love. Listen to this and imagine a bit of Greenfield keyboards and it could easily have been a comeback Stranglers single.
Track 9 is Hugh at full throttle with his best vocal on the album on a song which is just brilliant.
It closes with In the Dead of Night which is a song which will divide the listeners. For me it's a bit of a let down after a glut in the middle of the album of truly great songs.
In essence, this album has some of the best songs Hugh has EVER written - but it is sullied with some bland tracks and some lifeless guitar and vocal work from Hugh. He could have done so much better. If he'd asked me I would have made an infinitely better album for him and I'd have done it for free. But hey - I offered in 2008 but he just thought I was a pissed Stranglers fan post-gig.
Would I recommend this album? Hell yeah. I've warned you that there are duds here - but when it works it is some of the best music you'll enjoy this lifetime.
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