So many well-known albums turn 30 this year and Steve Taylor-Bryant and Susan Omand travel back to 1989 to revisit some of the sounds of their youth that made parents shout "Turn that noise down!" This week, Steve gets wrapped up in Del Amitri's Waking Hours...
Normally if you use the word “safe” in a music review it’s as an insult, but safe is the word that springs instantly to mind when I press play on Waking Hours and I don’t mean it as an insult at all. As soon as music starts on Kiss This Thing Goodbye I feel like I’ve been enveloped in a warm embrace, it’s like when you feel Fear as a child and your mother takes you in her arms. Too soppy? Tough! I love Del Amitri and how they make me feel.
Kiss This Thing Goodbye is great pop rock that contains banjos and harmonicas, I’m not sure what more some of you want? Opposite View is one of my favourite Del Amitri tunes even if it sounds a bit dated now, and then you get the slide guitar intro of the sublime Move Away Jimmy Blue which is still as gorgeous today as it was then. Stone Cold Sober id completely forgotten about, probably because the word sober is in it, but is a great look at life which is what Del Amitri do best. You’re Gone brings up the halfway point and doesn’t sound like a traditional Del Amitri track at all but is some of the best songwriting on an album full of great writing. The strings especially add a layer of intensity to it but it will always sound like a song from a cowboy film.
The second half kicks off with When I Want You which annoys me as a track but I really can’t put my finger on why, moving on... This Side of the Morning with those strings again that add a western saloon feel to things opens up into quite a beautiful song. Empty is another that feels quite dated but again worth a listen, and then comes Hatful of Rain which brings back happy memories of a Del Amitri show I went to *coughs* years ago. The jewel in the crown though, one of my favourite songs of all time closes out the album. Nothing Ever Happens is glorious, it’s real, it’s beautiful, it’s melancholy, it’s happy, it’s songwriting at its very best. It’s the kiss at the end of that hug from mum in the metaphor I began with.
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