The Waterboys - Modern Blues

The Waterboys Modern Blues cover
The Waterboys
Modern Blues
Harlequin and Clown
The musical collective best known as “The Waterboys”, that tends to feature a revolving lineup around, crazy Scot, Mike Scott and has been going on since the early 80s, is releasing their eleventh studio album (if one, disregards, live, demo, compilations and curios and the “solo” efforts that Scott, released in the 80s but still considers to be pretty much, no different than “Waterboys” and some discographies even file as canonical to the bands, discography.
In any event, it’s been a few years since Scott, arranged some Yates poetry in musical forms, on the latest studio effort that was “An appointment with Mr Yates” and even more if one wants to trace back to a completely “original” piece of work, being 2007’s “The Book of Lightning”... there were obviously other releases in between – like the “nearly” complete “Fisherman’s Blues” sessions in a boxed set, a live – official bootleg”, piano demos from the “A Different Place”, but this is the first all original – music from Scott in a while, bar some odd collaborations.
Ever changing the style, but always keeping the overall sound of the “band” recognizable, “Modern Blues” is pretty apt to its title. There are blues, jazz, folk, pop, rock influences all amalgamated and turned into “The Big Music”, that Mike never stopped serving though the years.
Destinies Entwined” mixes a nice bunch of odd riffs, with acoustics, some fuzzy electric violin churning out a quite brilliant melody, in a very “new”, but oh-so familiar sounding piece, that Scott’s delivery really turns instantly into a bona-fide “Water” classic.
November Tale” is a softer number, more measured, sweeter and again typical, of the more blues-meets-folk style that the band has also made theirs, through the years. It's bittersweet, but overall is more optimist than pessimist.
Still a Freak” is a “game-changer”... here we get a very American/Bluesy, Rock n Roll inspired sound, always mixed with the band’s unique sound perspective. It's a little punk-ish too, with its repetitive simple fuzzy violin riffy, that later on goes on to imitate a guitar solo and probably mix with one. Interesting…
I Can See Elvis” soothes things down, calmly channeling, The King of Rock ‘n Roll and a whole load of other late, musicians in a “heavenly” fun-filled jam! It’s quite simple, but very nice in the crazy whacky, odd way.
The Girl Who Slept for Scotland” is a great deal bizarre, in its acoustic, soft, demeanor… and I can’t understand if there’s a big metaphor, I’m not entirely grasping, or if it’s just an odd story, either entirely fictional or somewhat changed but based on real life events, given some poetic license.
Rosalind (You Married the Wrong Guy)” is a fun piece, although, its style is a bit unusual and its riff, quite quirky and rather “dark”, compared with the rest of the album that’s more lighthearted. Obviously, it’s all about, getting in the wrong sort of relationship and not having the gull to get out of it… that easily? Unrequited love? Pure fiction? Turning someone else’s story into a song?!
Beautiful Now” is a postcard from the past and lovely in every way, with its lighthearted and lovely message of dedication, through the years, that is sure, that the beauty of a soul is ever-lasting, not only the decaying forms, we call our bodies.
Nearest Thing to Hip” is a slow, somewhat bitter and almost sad, but also ironic thing, slowly releasing its “poison” on “banality”, “hip-steria” and the loss of identity in favor of homogenization a bane that consumerism... has brought upon us. The sax, that blows half mockingly somewhere is a brilliant touch... oh the irony, any old irony, gone with the wind...
Last but not least “Long Strange Golden Road” is a bigger and more “classic” water-song, that seems to again, gravitate a bit more towards rock, but has that freedom to incorporate, a more folk style with slight blues dashes and the odd parchment for storytelling that Mike Scott has, running through it... along with a nice “Hammond-like” murmur… Nice way to conclude, one of the better Waterboys releases in recent years... in many a year actually... this feels like the most complete album since “A Rock in the Weary Land” which was years ago, not to discredit the beautiful albums that the band did released in between.
Now play the blues for my baby and play them blues for me, how about a live performance, Mr. Fisherman, on a quest to discover the great Pan, the one and all, the sweet “Big Music”?!