Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Scotland - Full Moon 226 - 02/04/15

The Waterboys
Modern Blues
Harlequin and Clown / Kobalt Label Services / Playground

A visit from the past - a great past: A Pagan Place (1984), This Is The Sea (1985), Fisherman's Blues (1988), and Room To Roam (1990). Mike Scott and The Waterboys are back again with their eleventh album, Modern Blues, recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Going back to the roots of recording, a lot of live takes are just like the days back when the band recorded Fisherman's Blues. The new album contains nine tracks, and many of them are over 5 minutes long, beaten by "Long Strange Golden Road" which clocks in at 10:23. Mike Scott's old buddy, Steve Wickham, is still in the band.

Track number 1, "Destinies Entwined" is a real bluesy rock'n'roll kick-starter. Groovy guitars will make this song a new live favorite to the bands old fans. You have heard it before and you still like it. Next track is the first single from the album, "November Tale". Mike Scott takes down the intensity and concentrates more on telling a story than on making a great tune. It gets a little bit boring after the promising first track. Track 3 is a little bit back to the start: bluesy rock'n'roll, and Mike Scott tells everybody: "Still a Freak". Groovy!

"I Can See Elvis" is a little bit slow, but fun with name-dropping of great musical artists, like John Lennon and a lot of others. "I can see Elvis, skinny as he was". The song suits the mood of this album. Mike is singing with passion on "The Girl Who Slept For Scotland", which is a song that should suit radio-playing well. This should have been the first single from the album, being a nice song. I can hear old Waterboys songs in this one. Great song title, "Rosalind (You Married The Wrong Guy)". Again there are some bluesy guitars that drive the song forward, but I miss some unexpected part that could lift the song above "ordinary". It is followed up with the albums most forgettable song, "Beautiful Now", which happily enough are the albums shortest as well. It is followed by "Nearest Thing To Hip", just slightly better than the one before. Mike Scott gets to smooth, too boring, and are more a storyteller than a great songwriter. So, then we come to the last and longest track, "Long Strange Golden Road". Again the guitars gets bluesy, and the song is also doing. Mike got a long story to tell, but at over 10 minute's duration I had hope a developing of the song, there are none. The song is okay, but 10 minutes is far too long. My conclusion is that the first half of this album is best, and the last half "tunes down". There is "nothing new under the sun". This record is for the old fans and you will be reckoning the band when their reach out to old albums like A Pagan Place and This Is The Sea, with their sharp, bluesy guitars, but the new songs is a divisions or two under their own 'Premier League'. Still, this is probably the best of the newer albums from Waterboys, and as a long time fan - I will play it again and again. I just love those guitars.

Actually there was a Waterboys song as high as number 3 on the UK hit-list (Singles Chart) in 2013, but that was Ellie Goulding singing "How Long Will I Love You" (from Room To Roam), and newly Prince performed "The Whole Of The Moon" at a live show in London. The Waterboys got greater fans than me...

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