You wait a while for one then a few come together isn’t that whats always said? It seemed like that waiting for a new Waterboys record and no it’s not ‘The whole of the moon’ or ‘fisherman’s blues’ revisited. This is Mike Scott kicking over quite a few genres in one go from rockin’ out (the title Track and opener) to a bit of post-punk (London Mick) to some smooth pop (Right Side Of Heartbreak) to …ah wait n see.
Rewind to the opener and some raw reckless rock n roll and not for a while have I been this excited to hear what Scott has come up with and this is excellent. As is ‘London Mick’ as Scott regales us with tales of The Clash and Mick Jones. Vibrant and a fine piece of writing and as always Scott has a great tale to tell.
‘In My Time On Earth’ is Dylan if Dylan could still sing. An achingly beautiful song that builds but not to such grande epic proportions but to a gentle raised voice rather than a shout. This album ebbs and flows and the epic ‘Ladbroke Grove Symphony’ is classic Waterboys with a great arrangement then, you’re hit by the funk of ‘Take Me There I Will Follow You’ and from the scratches and backing vocals and Rap, this is a departure and one hell of a curveball nothing new for the Waterboys as there have been dalliances with different genres on previous albums ‘If I Was Your Boyfriend’ off the last album was slightly funky in a Stones ‘Miss You’ kinda way.. I’m not saying I’m against taking a departure – he’s not the first to mix things up but I don’t think I like the song regardless – there I’ve said it. I can pass on this one.
The curveballs keep coming as we go down synth wormholes that again lose me momentarily. To be fair the second half of this record seems to have fallen off a cliff for me which is a real disappointment as it started out oh so well. No, I’m quite partial to a bit of Beck and Eels and I can get it when a songwriter wants to push back some boundaries and I get the Prince thing but first and foremost the songs have to draw you in an so far that’s not happening. Sure the first half of the record was an easy reel in for me but I’ struggling right through side two up until the melancholy ‘Piper At The Gates of Dawn’ all ten minutes of it. Much like the last studio album, I felt a little out of step and it never did really click with me not even the Scatman tune.
There is a CD version with a bonus disc where Scott really gets to fuck with the listener. ‘Where The Action Is’ get the full Primal Scream treatment and I did raise a smirk on ‘London Mick’ with the introduction – I won’t Spoil it for you. In fact, the whole second Cd is a homage to symbol or Prince maybe the Celtic Prince as Scott will call himself in future as he vanishes in a puff of experimental smoke as this will truly test his fanbase who might be looking for him to grow older gracefully that doesn’t sound like it happening any day soon and I salute Scott for that.
Buy Where The Action Is Here