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Bring It Back

Bring It Back is all heat wave days and open-top drives along the Pacific Coast

Rating: 9 / 12

Colin Carberry, 04 Sep 2002

Given the pair’s propensity for throwing strops and conducting bitchy vendettas through the media, it’s a fair bet that neither Bernard Butler nor David McAlmont would have lasted too long in Saipan this summer.

You will, after all, know both by the trail of dead collaborators left in their frilly-shirted wake.

It seems, though, that a Noughties-long spell in the solo wilderness has tempered any antagonistic zeal and now, a mere seven years after their last record together, McAlmont and Butler have returned, and, would you believe it, they’re preaching love, togetherness and the power of collective will.

Which, frankly, given their previous form, deserves a round of applause. Just for the cheek of it.

Bring It Back is all heat wave days and open-top drives along the Pacific Coast. If you loved the delirium rush of ‘Yes’, then there’s all manner of equally sun-drenched fare on offer here to keep you smiling. Butler – always an electrifying player, although only occasionally the inspirational arranger he once threatened to become – gives full reign to his Spector tendencies, while McAlmont has lots of fun subverting the boy-girl conventions of the hetro Motown masses.

When it comes together (as it does on ‘Falling’, the Jimmy Webb indebted ‘Different Strokes’ and ‘Can We Make It’), Bring It Back is a spirit-lifting joy. However, at times the saccharine threatens to bring on a headache, and you’re left wishing that some of the old bile would rain on the parade.

So, good. But I hope they’re not just being nice to impress us.

Rating: 9 / 12

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Recorded in 2003, McAlmont and Butler’s ‘Speed’ won’t be followed by a new album or tour dates. Indeed, the sometime collaborators haven’t recorded anything else in the intervening three-year period. So why has it been released? Reportedly Rough Trade boss Geoff Travis was so impressed upon hearing the track he immediately wanted to put it out. And ‘Speed’ is impressive. Much in the vein of ‘Yes’ and ‘Falling’, it’s full of bombastic arrangements, dirty guitar interventions and feel-good calls to “keep moving on”. Fingers crossed it sparks a re-birth.

REVIEW: 02 Aug 2006

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