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Bob Collum is one of those Americans who decided to swap the wide open spaces of his homeland for the grey, grimy crowdedness of Britain – presumably he likes a bit of grit in his life rather than the flat monoculture that America can sometimes seem to consist of. Anyway, he’s been here long enough for his music to sound like he’s a Brit making American music. Just five songs on this ep to serve as an introduction to his oeuvre, but other albums are available; awash with some gloriously strong pedal steel from Allan Kelly and a little chugging electric guitar, Nashville-style, there’s a big country element to these arrangements that are strong on melody and blessed with a comforting familiarity – memories of all sorts of country/rock/pop crossover music are evoked.
Lyrically there are suggestions of early Elvis Costello; there seems to be some cynical finger-pointing going on and a bit of wordplay, though I confess I find it difficult to follow what he’s getting at. When he sings about The Ungrateful Depression, I pick up the sense that he’s making some sort of pun, but it fails to hit any particular nail on the head for me. Anyway, when the music’s as much fun as this I don’t really care if I can’t connect with the lyrics; what’s more, amongst the musicians corralled together for this outing is Martin Belmont, once of The Rumour, and loyalty dictates that we should cheer on old heroes and be glad they’re still around in our lives.
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