Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band – Dear Scott – Album Review
by Killian Laher
Michael Head, formerly of Pale Fountains and Shack, is spoken about in hushed tones by those familiar with this cult (small c) songwriter. The array of releases over the years makes him a hard man to pin down, but on the evidence of this, it’s worth the effort. This is his second album with the Red Elastic Band, released recently and it’s a joyful thing.
The opener Kismet is a wonderful slice of guitar jangle. It’s almost a mini symphony, as the orgy of guitars are joined by keyboards and horns. The lazy Stones-y sway of Broken Beauty is broken up by jaunty horns, while the stripped-down Freedom has lovely acoustic guitar and soft backing vocals.
Fluke with its gear shifts sounds forms the centrepiece, moving from slow drift to fast strumming, then back again. And damn, if The Ten isn’t the most gorgeous thing you’ll hear this year, I don’t know what is. It’s a tale about a bus ride in Liverpool over earnestly strummed guitar with a melody to die for, and a wonderful pastoral guitar and strings outro.
Every time you listen to the album it reveals just a little more. There’s so much going on in every track, musically and lyrically with little flourishes here and there. An unassuming joy.