By Rob McCulloch
This ambitious 15 track album provides glimpses of the song writing talent on offer, but the flat aesthetics of the overall finished sound leaves little lasting impact.
It's hard to find depth and soul in programmed drums and nasty keyboard strings. Mr McCulloch's music makes a reasonable attempt to do so but ultimately it's Richard Ashcroft doing nice pop-rock lacking lustre. It's not a fault of the artist as so much as the pretty formulaic production and equipment that blanderises all the songs into the same punch lacking pieces. With string sounds like Chris de Burgh castoffs, the transition to background music is probably slightly quicker than was intended. Too often choruses are simply not interesting enough and the same paced monotone melodies begin to wear a bit thin.
McCulloch has an a-typical "fookin shorted mayyy-te" slur to his Lancastrian lyrics yet he clearly seems to have missed the last 8 years of music since the Verve's demise. Only occasional highlights pop up in the form of the low-key "It's Sex" or the well backed "Where I Stand".
The ability to write and arrange, not to mention experiment with multiple instruments and sounds is a noble one, but sadly the soul got lost somewhere in the production.