- 11 Jun 03
Gone are the distorted kaleidoscopes of A Rock In The Weary Land, back are natural fibres, and if Wickham plays a subsidiary role, his high lonesome keenings are integral to the prevailing air of windswept ennui.
With the right honourable Steve Wickham reintegrated into a line-up that spent the last couple of years touring, one might be forgiven for thinking The Waterboys would steam back with a rip-snorting astral blast of a record that bears out their reputation as a live band of no small repute.
One might be required to think again.
For their ninth album, Mike Scott and fellows instead decamped to the Findhorn Institute, scene of the singer’s mid-90s spiritual retreat after the sound and fury of New York, but crucially, the place where his dark and broody first solo album Bring ’Em All In was recorded. I say crucially because Universal Hall has more in common with that collection than any in the band’s canon.