Wednesday , September 27 2023

Simply Red ‘Time’ album review: Soul survivor is still a class act | Music | Entertainment

He writes about his life, family and concerns on this 12-track lockdown album, employing a smorgasbord of different sounds – funk, soul, blues and jazz.

Better With You – about his wife Gabriella – is smart, wellcrafted pop with its roots in the 60s. Just Like You, built on a sweet funky bass groove, takes us to the 70s.

Later, Just Like You (Part 2) gives the number more space to breathe with a neat lead break by Japanese guitar maestro Kenji Suzuki.

Hucknall’s voice has lost none of its magic. It soars on the dreamy chorus of Let Your Hair Down, with Gavin Goldberg’s guitar taking us into Ernie Isley territory.

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Shades 22 is almost hypnotically relaxed and is quite beautiful. Slapbang is a harmonica-enhanced bluesy pop foot-tapper.

There’s social comment too. Hey Mister, which has a laidback funky feel, finds Hucknall chiding fatcats “on a gravy train in a world of acid rain”, adding, “When you’re done with your complaining, do something about our system failing”.

On the jazz-tinged Too Long at the Fair, he observes, “Democracy is suffering a major shakedown? Democracy is wonderful, marvellous, but do you really care?”

He’s on lead guitar on Never Be Gone, an emotional ballad about losing a loved one, and telling us to “trust in the rainbows of time, she will never be gone”.

The jazzy Butterflies, for his daughter Romy, comes complete with producer Andy Wright’s Wurlitzer.

The closer, Earth In A Lonely Space, starts like folky prog, then recalls The Beatles and Bowie. The message – look at what you have and make it better – is a good one.

There might not be a new Stars on Simply Red’s 13th album but everything about it radiates class.

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