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The Proclaimers - Life Without You

The Proclaimers, Life Without You

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

BY THE Proclaimers standards, new album Life Without You is an extremely serious record, reflective of our troubled times.

It’s as much informed by the war on terror and the recent cash for honours scandal as it is feelings of warmth and love.

Yet it retains a distinct style that’s firmly in keeping with the elements that helped turn Craig and Charlie into one of Scotland’s best (and most enduringly popular) bands.

The album kicks off with title track and former single Life Without You, a sing-along style composition that could well join the likes of I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) and Letter From America as a firm fan favourite.

Kicking off with the telling lyric “when I was a younger man, when I was a silly boy…”, the song then gushes forth with a beautifully composed ode to love that’s sure to go down a storm at countless wedding receptions!

Thereafter, the record gets a bit more serious. In Recognition is a biting indictment of anyone who “sells out” in order to get on the New Year’s Honours list, with lines like “in spite of all your claims, it looks like you’re just the same as every other clown who likes to put the crown before or after their names”.

And New Religion begins with a church organ before launching another tirade about the actual lack of religion in the world today – or rather the devoted following of false gods.

S-O-R-R-Y-, meanwhile, is a tender, piano based ballad that offers some sobering thoughts about the war in Iraq and especially those that supported it (“but now there’s a doubt over the wisdom you hand out in spades, please tell us what you think is a country we should next help invade”).

And so the serious themes continue – No One Left To Blame asks people to accept responsibility for their own actions, while Here It Comes Again references the misogyny that’s prevalent in some forms of music.

And The Long Haul once again returns to the subject of Iraq, this time examining the mis-representation of facts and the failure to learn from history (“I miss the days when the threat to our possession didn’t come from some religion but from godless Communism”).

Even the songs about love reflect a darker side to it, such as The Lovers Face, with its tale of fractured relationships.

Thank heavens, then, for their brilliant cover of Wreckless Eric’s Whole Wide World, which sits comfortably alongside the title track as a song made for joining in with. It restores a smile to your face that might have been missing for large parts of proceedings.

While Calendar On The Wall is a tender mid-tempo ballad that contains some really enchanting guitar licks.

That’s not to say Life Without You is a disappointing release; rather, not the album many were anticipating.

What it does do, however, is prove that The Proclaimers are as relevant as ever and have plenty to say. It’s well worth taking the time to listen.

Download picks: In Recognition, S-O-R-R-Y, The Lover’s Face, Whole Wide World, Calendar On The Wall

Track listing:

  1. Life With You
  2. In Recognition
  3. New Religion
  4. S-O-R-R-Y
  5. No One Left To Blame
  6. Here It Comes Again
  7. Blood Lying On Snow
  8. Harness Pain
  9. The Long Haul
  10. The Lover’s Face
  11. Whole Wide World
  12. Calendar On The Wall
  13. If There’s A God