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Paul Kelly Ways and Means Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

Paul Kelly, the acclaimed Australian singer songwriter, has released an excellent...

Nana Prempeh 2004

Paul Kelly, the acclaimed Australian singer songwriter, has released an excellent album full of poetic songs. This two disc record, his ninth studio album since his 1985 solo debut Post, takes one theme as its subject; love and its many splendours.

The Australian icon has collaborated with the best storytellers of the genre on this release. They include his nephew Dan Kelly and Kelly's high profile backing band (Dan & Peter Luscombe, Bill McDonald, Graham Lee and Bruce Haymes).

The first disc begins with instrumental "Gunnamatta", which sounds like one of Kelly's outstanding film scores. The track, named after an Australian coast town, really gets you going after his poetic lyrics kick-in. Most of the eleven tracks on this CD, such as "To Be Good Takes A Long Time" or even "Heavy Thing" and "Crying Shame", take you down the Country and Western lane. There are, however, a few upbeat tracks such as "Beautiful Feeling" and "Sure Got Me" at the end. Kelly's unique arrangement definitely pays off on disc 1.

Disc 2 on the other hand is full of melancholic tunes about relationships and life. On this CD, Kelly demonstrates his understanding of airy guitar music through slow jams like "You Broke A Beautiful Thing". If slow jams are your thing, then this CD really does the trick. The lyric seems to speak personally every time. Kelly was not kidding when he said "I want to write songs that don't get used up in the first couple of listens, that keep revealing things...To me as a songwriter, that's a challenge: to write happy love songs without being banal, sentimental or smug." Kelly achieves his goal with this album. He ends the album with another instrumental, the brilliant "Let's Fall Again".

Ways & Means should silence all the critics who doubted Paul Kelly's ability. A beautiful album about love from a talented yet underrated songwriter.

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