Paul has been doing his particular Rock and Roll thing since way back in 79 and has endured many changes to the face of this business but one thing has remained and that’s his ability to write and play some of the finest power poppin’ rock and roll anywhere on this planet.
This his latest solo offering is choc-o-bloc with hooks melody drama and cranked up guitars something he learned early on when a member of the Nerves and right through the double figured releases of his solo career.
‘Out Of My Head’ is a real return to his roots and as well as singing he plays all the drums and most of the guitar parts so in almost every sense of the word this truly is a solo album. There is no studio trickery on display here and along with Paul Stingo this was taken back to the garage and recorded on Reel to Reel now that’s not something you’re gonna hear being done much these days and it’s not a hipster gesture these guys are the real deal.
Eleven songs in a shade over half an hour is just about right and the formula is pretty straightforward. Great songs laden with melody and hooks and played on authentic instruments by people who know their craft and not some digital illusion created in some spotty kids basement or bedroom these guys are professions god damn it and once the needle drops you’ll get my drift.
I guess Collins has done this for so long he can write these tunes in his sleep he must sweat classic power pop every time he pulls his skinny tie too tight – it might be too early to announce this a classic but given time we might just look back on another genre highlight.
As soon as ‘In And Out Of My Head kicks in it’s like welcoming home the prodigal son – you feel like it’s been here before and whilst it purposefully meanders towards the solo its exuding confidence and you know how good this is.
‘Go’ is altogether punchier with a 60’s Britpop feel and Collins influences shine through. It’s a struttin’ number and if he still had one – his moptop would be shaking like a shitting dog.
This seems to be the pattern for the next few songs with hooks aplenty and melodies everywhere you turn. ‘Stranger’ has some wicked keyboard playing for good measure and a solo that’s like a ray of sunshine.
It’s not until ‘Emily’ does the pace relent as the tone is guitar and voice for the intro and first verse with gang harmonies carrying this one home. The drums sweep in halfway but ‘Midnight Special’ is altogether a rougher tune. With a bit of distortion laid on top of the Rickenbacker.
‘Killer Inside’ has something of a Doors feel on the intro through to the first uttering of the title then cuts loose as the atmosphere gets dark and the sparse guitar break certainly adds to the haunting feel of the song.
Certainly, one of the albums highlights for me is the laid back chill out melancholy of ‘Lost Again’. Certainly, the tempo fades towards the final third of the record with this final three
being a gentle fading of the light with the Dylanesque curtain call of ‘Beautiful eyes’ being an emotional Collins lamenting with just acoustic and electric guitar with sparse bass notes punctuating the chords to perfection.
Sure this isn’t reinventing the wheel in any way shape or form but it’s one hell of a strong album that showcases Paul Collins and his huge songwriting talent.