Review of Eddi Reader's album 'Love Is The Way'.
Eddi Reader is a Scottish singer songwriter most commonly known for her work with Fair Ground Attraction, and their most famous song 'Perfect' a name that might not mean much to you but if I started to sing, 'Its got to beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Perfect, Its got to beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee worth it yeah' it may mean a little more! Since the 80's Reader has worked hard on her solo career and in 2006 performed and released an album of Robert Burns work which earned her an MBE.
Love is the Way is her latest album and it has the feeling of a hot lazy summer woven throughout it. In the sense of traditional Folk Reader has more of a pop sensibility to her work. There are moments on this album that remind me of the stuff that the Corrs gave us in the 90's and I wasn't ever really a fan. Fallen Twice, is a traditional sounding folk offering and Reader has a voice not dissimilar to that of Andrea. This was something that once I acknowledged actually bugged me a little bit. Which isn't Readers fault, it's a shame Andrea Corr was so annoying. Sweet Mountain of love generates mental images of a group of girls at a sweet 16 wearing full skirts with Polka dots and westies adorning them, drinking coca cola from a glass bottle with a straw, swaying coyly to a straight laced party band in some suburb of America in the 1960's. Very Twee. Then New York City, sounds like Reader has written something for the likes of Delta Goodrem to release. Never going back again is Readers attempt at a simple folk tale, plotting through a little slice of Scottish history. A simple old time piano run, with vocal escalation creates quite a nice sound overall and it stands out on the album as different in approach to the rest of the songs.
Now this may seem like an odd comparison to make, given ones from the tropical Island of Hawaii and the other was born and raised in Scotland but Love is the way has a real feeling of Jack Johnson's In Between Dreams. Songs like Dragonflies the opening track, Love is the Way, Over it now and Roses which is really similar having the same bouncing rhythms Johnson is so fond of. A lot of the tracks on this album retain the same elements Jack Johnson used in his work such as gentle Ukulele strums, shakers and bongos and pleasant major chords with an uplifting Minor.
A lot of the tracks on this album are made for a listener who doesn't want to be challenged or pressured by their music, a listening experience that may allow for the occasional sing along and subject matter that doesn't cause concern for parents. I wouldn't necessarily worry about many young and fashionable teenagers rushing out to listen to this though. Not with the current faux punk revival all the kids are into today. Yet, I can certainly imagine it being an in between ground for the commute to school with the little darlings. I think the release date missed a trick, would have been a well received Mothers day gift, well for mums that wear Laura Ashley and buy their knickers from M&S.
Love is the Way is the ninth studio album by Eddi Reader. It was released in the UK on Apr 13, 2009.
In a special arrangement with record label Rough Trade she sold an exclusive, pre-released and minimally-packaged version of the disc on her autumn 2008 UK tour.
Produced by Eddi herself and recorded in a matter of days with her band in Glasgow, the record includes songs written with her longtime writing partner Boo Hewerdine, her life partner John Douglas (The Trashcan Sinatras), songs from Irish songwriters DeclanL O'Rourke and Jack Maher, Edinburgh-based Sandy Wright, an Eddi/Fleetwood Mac mashup and a rare Brian Wilson composition.
The album will be promoted by a 25-date UK tour starting in April 2009.(Wikipedia)
Eddi Reader was due to release a 'best of' collection this year, but when checking in to the studio to record the mandatory 'bonus' tracks such things demand, she had half an album before she knew it.
Sufficiently impressed, Rough Trade coughed up the readies - and the long player was finished in just three sessions.
Love Is The Way captures the spontaneity of this creation, Reader holed up in the depths of a flat in Helensburgh with her guitar and several musicians for company. By the sounds of things, the days marked a complete switch of mood for the former Fairground Attraction singer, seizing the chance to try her hand at more popular singer/songwriter material.
With her recent well received Robert Burns settings this is a calculated risk, but anybody wary of that decision won't regret investing in this, as a blissful hour awaits.
As the title implies this is a collection of songs about love - some wistful, some yearning but nearly all breathing a sigh of contentment. Reader manages to convey her positive emotions without resorting to slush as well, with some beautiful asides. Boo Hewerdine co-writes once again, the two song smiths painting charming sound pictures to match their descriptive words.
The John Douglas song New York City tells the story of a longing for the big apple where, furnished late on by cello, "it's just like the movies" - the New York of King Kong, you suspect, rather than American Psycho. Meanwhile, "You told me I was good luck, I'm seventeen in Kilmarnock," she sings in Never Going Back Again (Queen Of Scots), a clever Fleetwood Mac/Reader hybrid.
These early tales of romance leave her besotted. "Fantastic things begin when I am in your arms," she sings in It's Magic. Love Is The Way, a Declan O'Rourke song, encapsulates the album's instinctively romantic side and picks up from Silent Bells, where Reader sings, "all that we are without love is silent bells".
There's a lightly playful side to Reader, too, as she sings of featherweight nature in the warm hearted Dragonflies and the shuffling Dandelion, where "it's so good to see you fly".
On her MySpace site Reader tells the story of the album's genesis with a refreshing frankness. She ends with a plea, "My history is well known, and if you happen not to know it, good! I am starting from here." Fresh as a daisy, then - just like this record.