tue 23/04/2019

CD: Edwyn Collins - Badbea | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Edwyn Collins - Badbea

CD: Edwyn Collins - Badbea

The Orange Juice frontman ebulliently and effectively mines the sounds of his past

Edwyn uncontained

Edwyn Collins is in a good mood. Perhaps it’s his 2014 move back to his native Scotland where he now lives and records on the wild north-eastern coast. Perhaps it was finding a sheaf of inspiring old lyrics as he packed up to make the move. Or perhaps it’s just his joy at making music 14 years after two debilitating strokes nearly finished him off. Whatever the reason, his ninth solo album (and fourth since the strokes) is as full of beans as a young collie in springtime.

As the frontman of Orange Juice and co-founder of Postcard Records, Collins was a key figure in the genesis of indie music, as the term was originally defined in the post-punk Eighties (it’s now been rendered almost meaningless). The flavours which influenced that era persistently peep through, whether The Ramones on the two minute “Outside” or The Stooges on the lo-fi rhythmic drive behind “I Want You” and the glam-dirt riff of “Tensions Rising” with its hoarse-voiced, urgently hedonistic refrain of “getting higher”.

That’s far from the whole story, however. Badbea begins with the witty, catchy guitar pop of “It’s All About You” (“The summer is nice’n’easy/’Til you came and spoiled the view”, etc) before hitting us with the Motown stomp of “In the Morning” and the mariachi brass boosted nostalgia of “I Guess We Were Young”. Collins graffiti’s his autograph all over in the form of his distinctive twangy guitar.

He also lays out his thoughts over simple acoustic strumming which emphasizes his particular way of singing, characterful deep-voiced, an adopted Southern twang and late-period-Elvis word-swallowing. Songs in this vein include “Beauty” and the elegiac title track, named for a long-abandoned clifftop village near his home (“A ruined monument to life – and death”), but perhaps the similarly acoustic “It All Makes Sense to Me” makes his case most clearly, with its joyous statement, “It’s a glorious day in the world, yes it is”.

Popular music goes to many places, from rage to candied bubblegum to head-frying explorations of liminal space, but for those after straightforward elation at existence, filtered through a guitar-centric 1969-1982 sensibility, Badbea is a tasty one stop shop.


Below: Listen to "Outside" by Edwyn Collins


His ninth solo album is as full of beans as a young collie in springtime

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