Album review: PAUL CARRACK – These Days


Carrack-UK [Release date 07.09.18]

I have to say in recent years I’ve fallen out of love with Paul Carrack.  Partly this is just laziness but also for a time his releases were fairly uninspiring, including two albums of cover versions, one in 2007 and the other with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010.  This trend actually started back in 2001 when he released ‘Groovin’.  The one consistent factor was always the voice.  Ah, yes.  THE voice.

Carrack’s latest offering follows ‘Soul Shadows’ with a selection of soulful tunes, punctuated by brass and pristine playing throughout.

This is perfect BBC Radio 2 daytime fodder and will connect again with his loyal fanbase.  How else could Carrack regularly complete 30 date plus tours of the UK?  There’s another one coming up in January 2019.

It seems nothing has changed since I reviewed his DVD ‘Live At The Opera House’ in 2004: “Carrack knows his audience and judging from those interviewed for the ‘before and after’ gig sequence, they are almost exclusively forty-somethings who probably wooed, cuddled, and shagged to the Carrack Canon and – like sex – can’t give it up that easily.” Sad to say that – fourteen years on – the faithful are now within 10 years or so of their pension.

Blue-eyed soul is a somewhat over-used term but Carrack has always fitted that bill and seemingly always returns to the vibe he first purveyed with Ace and the eternal ‘How Long’.  But he resists that straitjacket too, for better or for worse.

Songs like ‘Life In A Bubble’ with its Steely Dan-ish tinge (courtesy of guitarist Robbie McIntosh) and the Stax-ish ‘You Make Me Feel Good’ contrast with the rumbustiousness of ‘In The Cold Light Of Day’.  Several lyrics are provided by his one-time Squeeze bandmate Chris Difford.

If you like Carrack’s work (and we haven’t even mentioned his time as the voice of Mike + The Mechanics with the late, great, Paul Young) you will like ‘These Days’.  However the unconverted, and the lazy, may think that the album lacks real consistency with rockabilly-lite (‘In The Cold Light Of Day’), pop reggae (‘These Days’)  and pop soul  Ben E.King style (‘Tell Somebody Who Cares’) also thrown into the mix.  Oh well, ‘Later… with Jools’ here we come…  ***1/2

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

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