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As I noted on a previous Edwyn Collins review, it’s very hard to critically assess his music post illness as it’s such a major achievement that he’s actually making music again. The same will be true if (fingers crossed) Vini Reilly recovers from his stroke and is able to play again his lovely guitar lines. It’s true that Collins’s music has lost a lot of its subtlety and experimentation yet this almost works to his advantage. The songs are resolutely simple, direct, and often contain touches of Motown (though his music always did), his voice is in remarkable fine fettle throughout, the arrangements whilst standard and unremarkable suit the stompy simplicity of the material.
Songs like the excellent opening Northern Soul-influenced stomper ‘Dilemma’ and the later slightly more jangly ‘31 Years’ are resolutely upbeat tour de forces and this sound is continued most of the way across the first side. On the flip it’s very nice indeed to have some ballads. ‘Down the Line’ is a lovely countrified lilt whilst closer ‘Love’s Been Good To Me’ is heartbreaking in its simplicity, sounding not unlike an early Richard Hawley weeper.
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