Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Edwyn Collins, Home Again

For the most part, the music on “Home Again” doesn’t do much for me and yet it may be the CD I’m most pleased to be able to listen to in 2007.  Why is that?  Edwyn Collins recorded the songs home againon “Home Again” in 2004.  On Februaury 18, 2005 he was taping a show for the BBC when he complained of nausea and vertigo which he ascribed to food poisoning.  Two days later he suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage.  While in hospital he had a second hemorrhage and was operated on a week after he was admitted.  He survived, began rehab and recovered to the point where he was able to go back in the studio in 2006 and mix the songs he had recorded two years earlier.  I don’t know Edwyn Collins but I’ve greatly enjoyed some of his music and it’s very good to hear how he has been able to overcome his severe medical trauma and return to doing what he clearly loves to do.

Collins’ group Orange Juice was at the forefront of the neo pop movement that came out of Glasgow, Scotland in the late 1970s.  His work is usually characterized by a wide and deep knowledge of pop music and a refined attention to detail.  His songs tend to be carefully crafted and multifaceted little jewels.  Those characteristics are present on “Home Again” but too many songs are mid tempo ballads with simple repeating refrains which can leave the listener searching for something more interesting to pay attention to.  The CD does have it’s moments.  Opening track “One is a Lonely Number” has a lilting rhythm, a captivating chorus and the kind of blending of musical and instrumental influences that Collins excels at.  “7th Son” is a blues rock tune that reminds you a bit of the brilliant production work Collins did on Little Barrie’s debut CD “We Are Little Barrie“.  Unfortunately, these are the exceptions rather than the rule on “Home Again”.

Viewed in the context of his prior output, “Home Again” fits neatly as a continuation of Collins’ history of releasing hit or miss albums while slowly accumulating a body of superior individual songs.  In that light, the CD provides even more reason for celebration given what Collins had to overcome to complete it.  Readers of this review should also be aware that Collins has fooled me before when I’ve listened to some of his music and responded with a “ho-hum” only to return some time later and be knocked out by what I wasn’t hearing the first time around. 

Listeners interested in Collins’ previous work might want to check out his excellent retrospective “A Casual Introduction 1981 / 2001“.

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12/17/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews

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