Saturday, 29 September 2007

Gorgeous George - Edwyn Collins

This month, Scottish indie-crooner Edwyn Collins releases his sixth album, Home Again, having recovered from two major cerebral haemorrhages in 2005 and a subsequent infection with hospital 'superbug' MRSA. That he can once again sing is miraculous, and that the his latest album has found such a favourable reception is perhaps all that surprising. He is a formidable singer-songwriter, with a powerful, deep voice.

Collins' commercial peak came with this 1994 album, Gorgeous George. Best known for the phenomenally catchy hit "A Girl Like You", the album ranges in style from angry, crunching rock to acoustic ballad via a series of dancefloor-friendly pop songs. Opener "The Campaign For Real Rock" will floor anyone who bought this expecting ten variations on the 'Girl Like You' formula. Six and a half minutes of fuzzy diatribe aimed at just about everyone in music at that time: American rock stars, Britpop young pretenders, faceless scenesters, aging hippies and everyone in between. It centers on a deliriously nasty guitar solo and segues into a description of the summer festival scene as "the gathering of the tribes descending [on a] rotting carcase". The echoing chants of "Yes, yes, yes, its the summer festival/ The truly detestable summer festival" give way to the thudding pop rock of "A Girl Like You", but the reprieve only lasts until the third track.

"Low Expectations" is a gentle acoustic number; "Out Of This World" is a nifty piece of minor key pop/rock. "If You Could Love Me" flirts with disco and comes away a winner. The true highpoint of the album is the title track, a wry satire on stuck-up industry types that moves from gentle verse to explosive chorus. It highlight's Collins' three strengths: his biting lyrical wit, his cross-genre musical innovation, and his wonderful croon.

Expect a review of his latest soon. I'm not sure I'll be able to hold out much longer on buying it. In the meantime check out the video, and applaud another great comeback.


Lysa said...

Well written article.

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