Let us once more cast off on the album boat and cross the musical ocean. Which albums have the wind at their back as they trip across the crests of the waves? Who has capsized mere metres from port and are clinging on to a dilapidated door? Jack? Jack, I'll never let go. Jack? Oh, you died. Right, well, down to the watery depths for you. Ah, there's the Carpathia. Nice knowing you...
I will begin on an honourable mention and a confession. This week sees the long awaited (in my family, at least) release of All That We Had, We Stole – the debut album from Patch And The Giant. My signed copy was dumped unceremoniously through my door mere moments ago. Ordinarily, I would provide a review were it not for the fact that my cousin Angie is the band's trumpet and accordion player (often simultaneously which is reason in itself to give this album a listen). I do feel this presents somewhat of a conflict of interest though.
I will therefore not tell you about the band being incredibly talented multi-instrumentalists. I won't tell you that their music feels like intricate home spun tales cast beneath a cloudy sky. I won't tell you about their enthusiasm, their dark versatility, their golden thread of humour or their reverent nods to folk history. I won't tell you about their charismatic lead singer who manages to sound wise, awkward, familiar, meek, joyous, maudlin, vulnerable and powerful all at the same time, with his eyes closed (literally). What I will tell you is if you fancy making your own mind up about Patch And The Giant, All That We Had, We Stole is available now.
A name that has crossed my path on more than one occasion this week is that of 80s poodle-haired heartthrob Michael Bolton. First, there was 'Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Netflix Special'. Now, there is Songs Of Cinema, a covers album with a filmic theme featuring classic Hollywood tracks such as Somewhere Over The Rainbow and As Time Goes By. Bearing in mind Michael Bolton is the subject of the largest fine in musical plagiarism history, for a record company to task him with a covers album feels akin to giving a convicted arsonist a job in a fireworks factory.
As you might expect, some tracks on this album work better than others. Listening to his duet with Dolly Parton on I Will Always Love You feels like rubbernecking on a fifty car pile up. I've Got A Woman feels like watching someone who should never have been allowed to be Ray Charles on Stars In Their Eyes. Conversely, he breathes new life into Bob Seger's Old Time Rock 'n' Roll and his version of Stand By Me, backed by a gospel choir, works very well. The real highlight of Songs Of Cinema though has to be closing track Jack Sparrow, a song originally created in collaboration with Andy Samberg's The Lonely Island for a Saturday Night Live sketch. The version on the album is an expletive-free, tidied up version of the track (the original version is below) but it hasn't lost any of its wry humour.
I think Michael Bolton is one artist to whom time has not been forgiving. Yes, he is cheesier than a tramp's feet smeared in Primula. Yes, his sartorial decision-making involves combining everything that's bad about every decade he's inhabited. You can't deny his flawless voice though and, with this in mind, I'm glad to see he has carved out a new niche – joining the bandwagon of people taking the piss out of Michael Bolton. It is good to see an artist capable of taking pot shots at their reputation and gaining new credence with a new audience as a result.
Finally, let's touch upon The Devil In by Devlin. The first thing that struck me is that she is almost unrecognisable since her stint on the X Factor in 2011. Back then, she could be relied on week after week for a pixie-like... wait, hang on. What do you mean we're not talking about Janet Devlin? Quick Google and it turns out the Devlin in question is the Dagenham rapper, probably best known for being a featuring artist with the Playmobil-haired Jessie J and the seemingly untouchable Ed Sheeran. The Devil In is Devlin's third solo studio album.
From the very first line of title track The Devil In, any slim hopes of entertainment I had dissipated. Anyone who feels the need to rhyme 'been away for a while' with 'sweet like Tate & Lyle' either needs to update their rhyming dictionary or accept that rhyming might just not be their sport. What follows is a tirade of self-indulgence bursting at the seams with misogyny and unnecessary profanity. Luckily, a majority of it is almost incomprehensible so what you are actually getting is synthesised bass overlayed with angry white noise. In all honesty, I would rather listen to Janet Devlin any day.
Then again, I might be wrong. I am a Musical Moron, after all...
Dammit, no Janet
Bolton's cinema rebrand
Giant day for Patch
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