Edwyn Collins Home Again Review

Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Here is an album that should go some way to persuade skeptics there is more to Edwyn...

Gemma Padley 2007

For many people the name Edwyn Collins is synonymous with one song – the 1995 guitar buzzing “Girl Like You”. But the ex-Orange Juice frontman has produced a considerable amount of solo material that sadly failed to receive the attention it deserves.

Album number six, Home Again, is the first release since 2002’s Doctor Syntax. But, more incredibly, it is a collection that he may well not have lived to see at all; Collins suffered a crippling brain hemorrhage in 2005 and has been recovering ever since. Here is an album that should go some way to persuade skeptics there is more to him than the one hit.

Recorded before Collins fell ill, it is a collection of songs drawing on themes of loneliness cut with a desire for self-understanding. But far from sinking into a slurry of emotionally overwrought musings, Collins tempers all yearnings with the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel approach (all the more apt in the context of his illness). When he veers too close to the abyss, he switches to lyrics exuding positivity and melodies that sparkle with hope. In doing so he avoids any encumbering sense of ‘poor-me’ syndrome.

“Leviathan” imbued with an immediate feeling of grandeur, a man on a mission to higher places, Collins sings: ‘I stood on the edge of my world…but my haven was a cauldron of bile’. Slow building instrumentation creates a rousing feel, revealing an inner strength – there is a nagging feeling throughout that everything will be ok.

“One Is A Lonely Number” with its spine shivering strings also embodies this sentiment. “If life breaks your heart, you needn’t fall apart” is the lyric accompanied by steady woodblock and pensive guitar gently edging the song forwards, ticking on as life rolls relentlessly onwards.

But despite the odd track-halting moment such as the unabashedly bluesy knees-up “Superstar Talking Blues”, Home Again is an album that is likely to be more at home on Radio 2.

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