Justin Currie – The Great War (Rykodisc) – CD review –
Perhaps it is time to give Justin Currie some credit. For almost 20 years, he fronted the Scottish band Del Amitri, guiding them through six albums filled with songs of failed relationships and unrealized dreams, wrapped in gleeful melodies that are as irresistible as the lyrics are bleak.
Therein lies Currie’s true talent; he makes the heartache sound so sweet. He took a sidestep for his first solo album; 2007’s What Is Love For was uncharacteristically maudlin, even by Currie’s standards. And, instead of the usual chiming melodies, most songs were filled with quiet, minor chords played on piano. Well, you might say Currie has let some of the sunshine back in for his new solo album, The Great War (Rykodisc). Sure, the lyrics are still barbed, with titles like “As Long As You Don’t Come Back,” and “Anywhere I’m Away From You.”
But, he’s once again surrounded these tales of misfortune with jangly hooks that promise to linger in your head. The first single, “A Man With Nothing To Do,” could easily fit right in next to Del Amitri’s best songs like “Roll to Me” or “Always the Last to Know.” And, that song contains one of Currie’s signature twists endings in that he’s “waiting to fall in love with you.” A must for fans of well-crafted pop songs. — Tony Peters