Review: The Waterboys – Where The Action Is

Following on from 2015’s lauded album, Modern Blues and 2017’s top ten-reaching double album Out Of All This Blue, on May 24th The Waterboys will release their new album Where The Action Is, via Cooking Vinyl.
The title track is an update of the Robert Parker classic ‘Let’s Go Baby’ – this is proper full band rock and northern soul with hammond organ, thumping drums with lead guitar solos played by Steve Wickham on his Fuzzboxed-up fiddle, and fabulous backing vocals provided by Jess Cav and Zeenie Summers. London Mick is a tribute to legendary Clash guitarist, Mick Jones. This song is reminiscent of Mike Scott’s early style, this is certainly a foot stomper. The close harmony vocals really work in this pulsating track.
‘Out of All This Blue’, was originally planned for the last album but wasn’t included. Mike has repurposed the song, this arrangement featuring horns, hammond and the you can really imagine this being one to slow dance to at the end of an evening. Too much in drink perhaps with wistful thoughts. ‘Right Side of Heartbreak (Wrong Side of Love),’ was recorded by Mike Scott at home, with guitar and vocal into a single microphone, then sent to Waterboys’ keyboard player, Brother Paul, who added the soundscape, beats and effects at his studio in Nashville. Featuring again excellent backing vocals and keyboard interludes, this is a slightly melancholy look at the ups and downs of love.
‘In My Time on Earth”, half spoken, half sung, draws you in immediately with its pleading honesty and raw style. Mike’s lilting yet impassioned voice really resonates something quite poetic. The track of the album for me is, ‘Ladbroke Grove Symphony’ weaving an image laden taste of the Bohemian centre of West London where Mike lived and was immersed in writing there. The song grabs you into the story.
‘And There Is Love’ (a collaboration with brilliant English producer Simon Dine) starts off in a prog rock style with its keyboard opening and pared back accompaniment. Almost a 90s rap/ pop spoof sees Mike rapping in ‘Take Me There I Will Follow You’, this one really departs from the rest of the album, its definitely experimental.
Robert Burns’ poem Green Grow the Rashes-O inspires ‘Then She Made the Lasses O’ this again features vocal effects, recorded in Dublin and mixed in Nashville. The album’s closing track ‘Piper at The Gates Of Dawn’ This is a reading of the most beautiful part of the chapter of the same name from Kenneth Grahame’s
famous book The Wind In The Willows. The band, instrument wise recorded this in one take and is a real stunner to close.
Experimental and contrasting styles this album certainly has, and while not every track might not be a fans favourite to add the The Waterboys considerable cannon, there is certainly much to enjoy and you cannot fault the music making, writing and production of this record.


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