sun 12/07/2020

Album: Huey Lewis and the News - Weather | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Huey Lewis and the News - Weather

Album: Huey Lewis and the News - Weather

Perennial West Coast feel-good band bring the bland on possibly their final outing

Huey Lewis, facing unwanted cloud on the horizon

Huey Lewis and the News were an unlikely mid-Eighties phenomenon. Their Sports album was a mega-success for a band already approaching early middle age. Their Fifties feel, given a contemporary polish and boosted by association with cinematic juggernaut Back to the Future, sat comfortably (yet incongruously) alongside the likes of Madonna and Duran Duran. They were, however, always shorthand for middle-of-the-road, their appeal satirized by Brett Easton Ellis who made them a favourite of American Psycho's Patrick Bateman. It should, then, come as no surprise that their latest album is supremely bland.

It’s doubtful any member of Huey Lewis and the News will be much bothered by such an assessment. Ignoring their music, what’s always been appealing about them is a wry, self-depreciating attitude to their place in the scheme of things, the theme, in fact, of their 1984 hit “Hip to Be Square”. This is a band born initially of the mid-Sixties West Coast psychedelic scene, almost 20 years before they made it, a group who spent the punk era in London, something Lewis has credited with pushing them to go their own sweet way, ignoring critical opinion.

Their tenth album - and first in a decade - is more like an EP, consisting of only seven songs. It’s been heavily hinted it might be their last for Lewis is suffering from Meniere’s Disease, which chronically affects his hearing and therefore his ability to sing. His singing, however, is not the problem. The music trawls tepid, funkless territory. Whether teetotal rhythm & blues or squeaky clean jazz-funk, if ever a music was “lite”, this is it. They run the gamut from country to doo-wop (the latter on the supremely cheesy "Pretty Girls Everywhere"), the vanilla whiff of dinner party jazz occasionally present.

Weather’s tone and lyrics aim for upbeat fun, offering a septuagenarian last hurrah for country honkytonks, one night stands and, on “Remind Me Why I Love You Again”, unreconstructed male ponderings. The short of it is that it sounds like Huey Lewis and the News are having fun at their PG cert Middle American barbecue party, but the offer to join them isn’t tempting.

Below: Watch eight minute CBS Sunday Morning news piece about the return of Huey Lewis and the News and the problems they are facing

It’s been heavily hinted this might be their last album for Lewis is suffering from Meniere’s Disease, which chronically affects his hearing and ability to sing


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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Somewhere in the BBC archive there is a terrific mid 80s recording of the band live at the Dominion theatre, with the Tower of Power horn section. I would love to hear it again, and wish the BBC would release it. Before becoming the News, most of the band were called Clover, and backed Elvis Costello on his debut CD. Huey Lewis is also a very good harmonica player. Off topic, will you please review the new (sort of) Gil Scott Heron release, We're new again.

I recall this broadcast Michael and somewhere still have a flyer for the show and a cassette copy of the broadcast that I had to turn over during an extended keyboard solo. I saw HL & TN at the Marquee a few months prior to the Dominion show. They were great and Dave Edmunds and Phil Lynott joined them for an encore if memory serves me correctly. A great ‘good time’ band who had a real ‘feel good’ vibe about them. Shame this release appears short but all things considered, any new music from this great band is welcome. Ps if I find that recording I’d love to send you a copy!

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