28 November 2005

richard ashcroft - "break the night with colour" (from the keys to the world lp, import available for preorder here.)

in brief : normally, i'd post this sort of thing in the morning; this though is a (good) radio rip, so caveat auditor.

one has to wonder if this is a historical moment for richard ashcroft. it's been three years since human conditions, not an album that left most w/ bated breath, but his performance of "bittersweet symphony" w/ coldplay was a highlight of live8, and now he'll be touring w/ the band, whose lead singer proclaimed him the greatest songwriter ever and lord of all he surveys. and he's v. optimistic about this record, the best stuff he's ever recorded and such. but, then again, he's always v. optimistic about his records, isn't he? not one to say something like, "the album's shit, but i've become accustomed to a certain lifestyle."

based on "break the night with colour," i'm a little dubious. the familiar, comforting tropes are there; richard is still something of a lone seeker of truth, a solitary man. the track, though, sounds suspiciously like "boulevard of broken dreams," only w/ harpsichord. ashcroft, for his part, sounds more and more like neil diamond w/ the passing of the years. who better, though, to take up the role of the solitary man--"lord i've been trying" from the last record was pure beautiful noise--which might explain why the whole band thing didn't work out.

what he doesn't have here--and, if you think about it, he's never really had it--is neil's sense of chorus. what "break the night with color" does have is a nagging "oooh, oooh," an insidious little hook that burrows deeper w/ each listen. hardly the thing to build a comeback on, especially when one recalls how his best records had at least five or so different hooks. i still want to believe, and i'm sure i'll find something on the album, but i didn't find what i was looking for here.

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