BMG [Release date 11.09.20]
Anyone who can stay the distance in the fickle UK music business deserves considerable recognition and with 32 years under his belt, Andrew Roachford MBE is due his flowers. Originally operating as a band, “Roachford” achieved high charting singles like ‘Cuddly Toy’ and ‘Find Me Another Love’ in the eighties.
The next decade saw the band continue to be successful under label Columbia, while Roachford the solo entity diversified by notching up song-writing credits for artists such as Taylor Dayne and lending backing vocals to the likes of Jeff Beck. By 2003 the group had disbanded but as it was his surname after all, Andrew Roachford kept releasing music under the Roachford moniker.
As with seemingly everything this year, Roachford’s ‘Twice In A Lifetime’ arrives somewhat delayed; originally slated for release in April with an accompanying tour, the live dates have been rescheduled for 2021. Opening number ‘High On Love’ serves as a good statement of intent for the album; an organic in-studio feel, with opulent horns and a general timeless quality. The lyrics about overcoming darkness with an all-powerful relationship, find Roachford “all fired up, high on your love”, beginning a revivalist church-feel throughout the record.
‘Love Remedy’ shows that Roachford’s ability to write a hooky chorus hasn’t left him. The production from Jimmy Hogarth (whose skills have been engaged by artists such as Duffy and Amy Winehouse) is airy and euphoric.
Again the lyrics concern a restorative relationship, the titular love remedy. Roachford isn’t saved by God but by a healthy relationship. Al Green homage ‘Too Much to Lose’ doesn’t feel the need to change this formula and is unsurprisingly about a changed outlook thanks to a new love, “I used to gamble with love but since I met you, I’ve got too much to lose to throw it all in”. Roachford’s oaky tenor is so soulful, with just the right amount of huskiness, that it’s difficult to be too incredulous about the repetition. ‘Give It Up And Let Go’ is an album highpoint, with a propulsive drum line and a chorus featuring horn parts right out of the Gamble and Huff playbook.
‘What We Had’ is a tender duet with Wolverhmapton’s very own Beverley Knight. This pairing seems entirely appropriate, as both artists have flown the flag for UK soul for a considerable time. Their voices complement each other to the point that the listener is amazed that this meeting hasn’t happened sooner.
Acid-jazz inflected ‘Are You Satisfied?’ arrives at the best possible moment, giving the final stretch of the album some much needed propulsion. The simmering backing vocals give the chorus a Soul II Soul quality. Speaking of backing vocals, the gospel stylings on ‘The Truth Hurts Too Much’ conjure the ominous confessional quality of a Marvin Gaye record.
Acoustic closer, ‘You’re The One’ is the track that comes closest to recalling Roachford’s eighties output. The lyrics once again concern, you guessed it…a restorative relationship! However any frustrations about lyrical formula are allayed by the record’s confident delivery and classy production. The fact that Roachford is still here, doing his thing and to such a high standard, deserves to be celebrated. *** ½
Review by Phillip Beamon
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