What does it sound like?:
Well, I wanted to like it, really wanted to, but the idea of Tom, much as before, being somewhat better than the reality. For sure he has written some fabulous singles, that being the rub, his LPs palling outside those songs. I guess I had forgotten that, as he hasn’t produced new music for decades, becoming an older statesman over on R6. ‘Hope and Glory’, from 1984, was my last point of reference, and, in preparation, I played that last week, it holding up OK, the good songs great, the rest, less so.
So what can I say? Well, his voice remains unchanged, a ragged instrument of limited but affecting beauty. He retains his penchant for a bit of a political and whoever is playing bass has the new wave thin twang off perfectly. (Possibly himself? Didn’t he play bass in the TRB?) Um, that’s it. I guess the ‘single’ is ‘Cry Out’, a catchy song that, given airplay will have many buying the lot. Definitely the stand out track, and extremely hum worthy . Guests are mainly of the thesp variety, although long time stalwart and punk survivor T.V. Smith pops up, many tracks being big on spoken word from the likes of Sir Ian McKellen and Colin Firth. A cover of ‘In My Life’ starts well, a duet with Martin Carthy, which gets muddled up in some unnecessary arrangements, and, much as I like Mr C, Robinson would have been better doing it alone. The opening song, ‘Home in the Morning’ is perhaps the other pointer, a mash of ‘Martin’-like template and a silver band whimsy, and is a bit of a grower. Of the rest I can find a wry admiration for ‘Holy Smoke’ around the usefulness of thin biblical paper in rolling one up, lyrically better than the largely 6th form level of the rest, until some ghastly rapping and yet more act-or intonations wreck it. Sorry, that’s yer lot.
What does it all *mean*?
If I’m honest, why? OK, I’m sure he is is being constantly reminded and exhorted to play some/write some new, but this is a lesson why not, illustrating the dangers of pledged music: if enough people pay for you to do an album, actually you have to make damn sure you have one inside you. This would have been an excellent EP. (Well, quite a good one.)
Goes well with…
‘Power in the Darkness’ or the good songs from ‘Hope and Glory”, played loud and swiftly, to allow nostalgia to cleanse the palate.
Might suit people who like…
Downloading 2 or 3 tracks from an album.
(I should here thank Tim@Admin and the whomsoever passed this on to him for an AW review, feeling ever so bad about my inability to rave and big it up. As they say, I should declare I didn’t have to purchase it and, thank the Lord, I didn’t.)