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The Waterboys – Out Of All This Blue

October 15, 2017

I have not given The Waterboys a thought or a listen in a long time. I recently went to see U2 at US Bank Stadum in Minneapolis. Sadly one of the highlights of that show was the last song played before the lads came on: The Waterboys’ “The Whole Of The Moon.” I made a note to myself to pull out This Is The Sea and give it a spin.

A couple days later I was at Mill City Sound record store when I saw the double (and deluxe triple) LP Out Of All This Blue by The Waterboys as a new release. I did not even think The Waterboys/Mike Scott was still a going concern.

I was intrigued, but not willing to commit. So a day later I dialed it up on Spotify and gave it a listen. It is good and best of all a bit funky.

I loved This Is The Sea and Fisherman’s Blues (and the first two The Waterboys alum Karl Wallinger’s World Party albums from roughly the same period). But I lost interest and have not followed the band since then. But it sure was interesting that Mike Scott had a super-sized release like this late career.

The album has the grandeur of Springsteen, the Celtic soul of Van Morrison, the pop sensibility of Belle and Sebastian and the folky humor of John Prine.

There is not a bad cut on the album, but there a few songs that really stick out as gems:

  • “New York I Love You” a Springsteen-ish rap
  • “The Connemara Fox” a Dylanesque rocker that has special relevance because Connemara references the region of Ireland that my dad grew up
  • “Nashville, Tennessee” a twangy rocker with a couple catchy phrases like “I’m one part psychedelic gypsy, and three parts blue-eyed refugee” and “My soul is in Memphis, but my ass is in Nashville, Tennessee.”

This album is a delightful surprise and will have me backtracking through The Waterboys’ catalog of the last 25 years to see what else I might have missed.

The album has a delightful tossed off almost demo feel. Normally I would find that half baked, but here I find it pleasant, unpretentious and most of all fun.

Lyrically there are lots of love songs balanced by songs of adventure. The backstory of the album is that Mike Scott fell in love and married a Japanese artist. Their romance and The Waterboys touring the world is the influence for this batch of songs.

Musically it is a nice mix of The Waterboys diverse styles they have toyed with over the years: “big music” (think mid 80s rock like U2), Celtic soul, folk rock, country, mainstream rock and new to me, a bit of a funk and hip hop influence.

My initial listens were via Spotify and some of the songs had a lo fi feel. After about 20 listens I am finally listening to the vinyl version. What a a revelation that is. The songs that had a lo fi feel open up into a much richer sound. What once had a demo feel now has a hip hop aesthetic. The sound is deep and textured. It is not at all pandering to contemporary taste, but rather an artful fusion of rock and hip hop.

It is delightful to know an old rocker still has some swagger.


From → Music Reviews

  1. I haven’t kept up with the recent releases either. Sounds like he’s recently married a Japanese vulva artist, so maybe that’s given him a new lease of life?

  2. Not too familiar with this band but I dug what I heard. Kinda pop-funky. (That said, I’m just about done with songs telling me how swell New York is. Enough already.) I didn’t know Wallinger was ever with this band. I have ‘Private Revolution’ in mind in the not-too-distant future for a post.

    • I agree the New York thing gets old. I really loved those first two World Party albums. Goodbye Jumbo was my favorite of the two. Never kept up after that.

      • Maybe you already know this but Wallinger had some health issues. I remember reading an interview with him in the Boston Globe a while back. He had a brain aneurysm but I guess he recovered OK. That happened to someone I know recently. She recovered OK but has to take it easier.

      • Wow. I did not know that.

      • Check Wikipedia.

  3. jprobichaud permalink

    I love The Waterboys but I never did check out this last album… though I meant to…

  4. I will check this out for sure. Waterboys are in my regular rotation.

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