20 years on and I'm playing a tape of this album in the car as part of my boys' musical education. I tell them that this is the best songwriting since the Beatles and I don't think I'm exaggerating. This is majestic stuff. The arrangements are as tight as anything that ever came out of Motown, the playing is perfect and his singing never better. It's hit song after hit song and although I know it backwards I never tire of listening. I can't even make up my mind which is the best track. King of Thieves, Charm School, Shipbuilding and TKO are stunningly compelling and represent Declan at his zenith. After this he made one more album nearly as good then, and it makes me very sad to say it, the muse left him for good. The flirtations with American country music were disastrous and he never recovered the ability to write tunes as good as those on Punch the Clock. The words, yes, the music, regrettably, no. If you were not buying music at the time, don't know much about the man but feel that you ought to have something by him, choose this one and prepare to be astonished at how good it is. You won't be disappointed, you'll be amazed. In 20 year's time you can play it to your kids.
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