Following his stint as fluid foil to Robyn Hitchcock’s guitar angularity in The Soft Boys and their demise following the relative failure of Underwater Moonlight in the heights of punk, few would have put money on this mild-mannered englishman progressing much further – but boy he certainly did make some waves (pun) with Katrina, writing hit Walking on Sunshine – our last eurovision success and material for the Bangles. Success with Sunshine and the ensuing royalties mean he can write and put out whatever he wants.
Great Central Revisited is one of a number of solo recordings featuring his tuneful idiosyncratic vocal style and fabulous guitar playing (power-pop jangle to witty fluid soloing – he truly is one of the UK’s most underrated guitarists).
Songs range from the philiosophical jangle of Life Itself, the storming English Road, Nick Lowe-esque paen to other half, Bassist Lee-Cave Berry, Seven Stars, and the slow burner, a vitriolic put-down of post rehab celeb druggies – Sick of Reading About Your Drugs.
Highlights for me though are the poignant Screaming Lord Sutch, a take on the Monster Raving Loonies leader post suicide, and the fact that live – he “with a dagger of wood”, was “not very good”, (no surprise there then!) and Philip Larkin, tribute to Hull poet, “with his bald head and glasses and suit well-dull, but nobody told the truth like the bard of Hull”. He even manages to shoehorn in the umberella reference.
Not averse to singalong anthems, this album is a guitar-driven power-pop masterpiece, a pity it’s not better known. Check it out – along with his other albums, and visit his site to download his charming musical accompaniment to a walk along the Ridgeway path!
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