Expect the unexpected, expect great lyrics and lots of love on Out Of All This Blue, The Waterboys’ twelfth album. The album threads it way through tones and textures that are the signature of Celtic Folk colliding with Rock and attitude. Sliding into this genre-bending album expect hip-hop and disco replete with glitter ball. What ensures every track hangs together, they are all on the same musical journey as are the lyrics that are full of narrative power.
Each song kicks up its own musical dust cloud as the musicians joining Mike Scott have been thought through. This is never music cramming in as many notes during long-lead breaks for no real purpose.
With a Change of direction, Out Of This Blue is an album of transition. Scott is leaving his Blue period and rejoicing falling in love and marrying Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi, the birth of a child as he steps out from being Blue. We hear the lightness of tonal shaping of the lyrics on many of the songs, as the door opens and the sun shines in. Opening with the aptly named Do We Choose Who We Love Mike Scott is joined by the full Band and we are introduced to the Dublin Soul Choir. The brightness radiates from this upbeat number, Big Music has its sunshine hat on today. The theme of sunny music continues with a countdown the music gets your hips swaying with funky numbers with hints of Prince and Detroit soul melding into the Waterboys approach to music. We sort of have an answer to the question posed as the album opens If The Answer Is Yeah…..
Throughout the album, there are references to his new love. With Japanese references like sayonara, Mike wants no negativity just yes. The album is replete with love. But we still have scathing storytelling irony and grit. This is not full of pastel popular licks and happy life just isn’t like that. Songs that are a lyrical declaration of his new found love with Skyclad Lady a slower song with undertones of Scottish Folk and purple heather this short interlude weaves into Rokudenashiko, a love sung with a rawness, a growing belief that this is a new reality the song has a haunting beauty captured in the strings that ebb and flow throughout.
It is unarguable that the tonal shape and felling explored throughout is dominated by Mike Scott and his newfound contentment. On other themes we have the harder hitting monument as the keys, guitar and fiddle work in harmony with Mike’s vocals with a marching rhythm this is a number that takes you forward out of the blue. With ironically one foot in the past to a Waterboys sound of yesteryear, this is also captured in Kinky’s History Lesson. This is led by the beat set own by the drumming and is stark against the vocals, delivered more as a sonic poem than a song. The upbeat pop of Yamaben lifts the spirit and is a fun listen.
The sonic introduction to The Hammerhead Bar, the steps and knocking on the door opens the second album with a question are you here for the music? We enter a venue with lyrics that paints a graphic picture of what The Hammerhead Bar looks like. The music spills out and the drums driving beat keeps the shape of a number that has an inner wild eye feel. Especially as the fiddle joins in as sharp as Jack the Knife! What a dynamic opening to the second CD. We travel to Nashville, Tennessee, stucatto guitar and echoes of Rhythm and Blues with country fiddle. As we find out that his soul is in Memphis and arse in Nashville, the organ from Brother Paul adds to the feel with depths and layers.
As Waterboys close out the second album with Payo Payo Chin, this is upbeat with swirling strings and keeps the upbeat sunny mood that pervades the album. We know this album will be an elegant companion to our collection.
Never define The Waterboys, Mike Scott will never be chained to a trend his music is created capturing a moment with lyrics that are full of authentic intensity delivered in his own indomitable way. The songs are crafted reflecting the mood Mike Scott wants to convey. This means that some songs become firm favourites, others just do not click.
NINEdoodle paws out of TEN …
The Waterboys – Out Of All This Blue – BMG Records
- We Choose Who We Love
- If I Was Your Boyfriend
- Santa Fe
- If The Answer Is Yeah
- Love Walks In
- The Connemara Fox
- The Girl In The Window Chair
- Morning Came Too Soon
- Hiphopstrumental 4 (Scotsman)
- The Hammerhead Bar
- Mister Charisma
- Nashville Tennessee
- Man, What A Woman
- Girl In A Kayak
- Kinky’s History Lesson
- Skyclad Lady
- Don’t We Walk On Water
- The Elegant Companion
- Payo Payo Chin
Mike Scott: Vocals, drumscape, organ, funk 7 fuzz guitars, stuff, FX Kiss
David Hood: Main song bass
Brother Paul: Synth, organ
Steve Wickham: fiddle, sonics
Ralph Salmins: Drums
Zach Ernst: guitar
Aonghus Ralston: Bass
Trey Pollard: String and brass arrangement
Kevin Murphy: Cello,double bass
Thomas Haugh: Lap zithers, ukelin, percussion
John Hegarty: Piano
Bil Blackmore: Trumpet, flugehorn
Niall C. Lawlor: Picking guitar
Wild Bill Crivvens: Traps
Max Zaska: Electric guitar
Zeenie Summers Backing Vocals
Jess Kav: Backing Vocals
Conor J. Ryan: Basso voice
Roppongi Hills Crows: Themselves