- 06 May 22
Mike Scott & Co. return with genre-blurring dreamscapes
They may have released a compilation box set less than a year ago, but The Waterboys aren’t hanging their hats up just yet. Following 2020’s Good Luck, Seeker, Mike Scott continues to boldly push at the boundaries of his musical vision on All Souls Hill, his 15th album with the band.
Tying in with the title, there’s a colourfully devilish, Día de los Muertos-style air permeating much of the record. It’s particularly notable on the opening title track, establishing an eerie but undeniably groove-centric footing from the get-go. While this atmosphere largely persists, The Waterboys are quick to change up the sound – leaping between genres and ideas as if journeying through a fever dream, eventually leading to the hip-hop-flavoured ‘Here We Go Again’.
‘Hollywood Blues’ is a hypnotic highlight, and Scott’s storytelling remains captivatingly strange and stirring. Although the political commentary on ‘The Liar’ has the potential to feel a little heavy-handed, if the last few years have taught us anything, it's that there’s not much room for subtlety in times like these.
Experimentation may be the defining feature of All Souls Hill, but at its rawest roots it’s a surprisingly back-to-basics album – even entering into soulful balladeer territory on ‘Once Were Brothers’. The unpredictability is unapologetic, but the emotion at the heart of the album is as strong as ever.