Angel Air SJPCD040.
This is the second solo album from ex-Mott The Hoople organist Verden Allen (his first being Long Time No See, also available on Angel Air). And solo album it is, because Verden plays all the instruments himself (apart from Rob Watkins guitar on track 2, and Paul Boyce bass on track 3), as well as handling the songwriting, production and arrangements.
The result is an album that I find a touch disappointing after his excellent debut. Yes, there are some fine songs here, such as the opening track A New Way, E Mail and the title track. Indeed, both A New Way and E Mail have distinctive hooks, such that I found myself humming them when busying myself long after the album had finished.
Second Love gets reworked, having originally been recorded by Mott back in 1971 and opens with piano and organ complementing each other very well, but doesn't build as majestically as it ought to (and as Mott fans would expect).
The problem I have is that Verden's keyboards are too dominant, with what drums, bass and guitar there are merely forming the framework on which the songs are built. Too many of the songs are of a similar pace, with no real rockers or ballads, the result being the tracks blend into each other. Loving You is an example, which although displaying Verden's keyboard skills doesn't have enough variety to maintain the listener's interest. Perhaps with different arrangements (stronger guitar, more drums perhaps) the result would be different.
This album does have a place, though. It's inoffensive and would make fine late-night background music, but although Mott diehards may be interested I doubt the uncommitted fan would be convinced.Adrian Perkins