- 26 Aug 20
Looking Forward To The Past.
The follow-up to last year’s Where The Action Is, The Waterboys’ 14th album again proves that Mike Scott’s musical instincts are as finely-tuned as ever. Recorded under lockdown in Scott’s Dublin home with other parts added remotely, the album uncannily feels like a band actually playing live and with gusto.
Fans will already be familiar with the brass-fuelled and soul-filled ‘The Soul Singer’ with its echoes of Ghostbusters and a respectful nod to Prince, but unmistakably Waterboys too. ‘Low Down In The Broom’ is a sparkling contemporary refurbishment of a Scottish/English folk tune about a willing woman waiting for her man, while ‘Dennis Hopper’ is Scott’s rowdy tribute to the late maverick actor. There’s another reinterpretation of Scott’s previously reworking of the Kate Bush/Prince collaboration ‘Why Should I Love You’, and this time he’s really nailed it, Christian imagery and all. Another backward glance comes via the raging seven-minute ‘My Wanderings In The Weary Land’. An apt backdrop to these worrisome times, this multi-genre, uptempo stomper has Scott speaking-singing against a backing that’s evokes his earlier ‘The Return Of Jimi Hendrix’. Dig the furious guitar solo, Jimi. ‘Postcard From The Celtic Dreamtime’ was spawned during the Fisherman’s Blues days, and has Scott speaking lovingly of the western Irish countryside while a trippy instrumental swirls about. The title track is musically more of the same. The ‘Boys wrap it up with another Scott monologue on ‘The Land Of Sunset’ pitched against evocative keyboard work by Peadar O Riada.
While Scott always sounds like he’s in charge of material that’s exhilaratingly fresh but cleverly linked to past glories, you can’t ignore the sterling contributions from the stirring fiddling of Steve Wickham, Brother Paul Brown on organ, and the underpinning of Ralph Salmins’s unerring percussion. But that’s The Waterboys for you – one for all and all for you.