Artist: The Waterboys
Title: Good Luck Seeker
Genre: Folk Rock
Release Date: 21st August 2020
Label: Cooking Vinyl / Sony Music
Trying to sum-up THE WATERBOYS with the classic song ‘The Whole Of The Moon’ is like saying Switzerland has got a mountain. Even now, that mid-eighties stalwart is probably their best-known song, but so much more has littered their musical meanderings across hill and rocky dale. After about a thousand albums (it’s 14 actually) you would think there’s not a lot left unexplored by main-man Waterboy Mike Scott - if it’s Celtic tinged Folk-Rock and quirky observational lyrics with splashes of Big Music paganism and widescreen homages to Mother Nature, he’s your man. And he’s back now with ‘Good Luck Seeker’, lockdown hungry after months spent creating in his Dublin studio.
‘The Soul Singer’ takes about a second to force a good mood down your throat, with horns blaring over a big bad boy swagger, and Mike Scott’s raspy vocals introducing you to the first of any number of colourful characters. Jumping wildly into some 70s Jazz and Soul lounge bar, there’s spoken work delight ‘You’ve Got To Kiss A Frog Or Two’, which is as bat-shit crazy as it sounds, like a folky BARRY WHITE on magic mushrooms. There’s more gravitas on the trad-folk ‘Low Down In The Broom’ before things go completely mad again on shrine to actor Dennis Hopper on… well, ‘Dennis Hopper’… and the strange, dreamlike ‘Freak Street’.
If you feel life has come up short by not providing a 46 second ode to THE ROLLING STONES, fear not. ‘Sticky Fingers’ will provide. Need something soothing and straightforward? ‘Why Should I Love You’ will help. And that vocally-treated disco slink you’re just in the mood for? Here’s ‘The Golden Work’. And at this point, the albums greatest charm, or greatest flaw, becomes apparent. Whereas it’s truly inspiring to be in the company of a musician and poet with such a vast plethora of ideas, talents, styles and concepts, it does at times feel like the workings of a hugely impatient maverick locked up for too long in the same space. Which of course is exactly what it is. It jumps from style to style like a kid on energy drinks, showing off while shouting MORE as loud as it is possible to shout.
So, there’s the pulsing and driven ‘My Wanderings In The Weary Land’, Seamus Heaney put to music, the mystical unravelling of ‘Postcard From A Celtic Dreamtime’ and the rather unremarkable title track. Things draw to a close with a pairing of short sharp songs which feel alarmingly unfinished and ‘The Land Of Sunset’, a 90s chill-out track that wraps itself up in vast plumes of fragrant smoke and goes dancing off bare-footed and in slow motion towards some wonderful place that definitely exists uniquely in the head of its author. The album starts sharp-suited and strutting, and ends up stoned, misty-eyed and babbling about some really cool stuff, man.
It is very, very clear that Mike Scott is without doubt the very best Mike Scott there is out there, and visiting his world is in equal parts wonderful, magical and hilarious. But like the pub drunk in the corner, you know he’s packed full of interesting stories and experiences, but do they all have to come out at once? And all before last orders?
01. The Soul Singer
02. You’ve Got To Kiss A Frog Or Two
03. Low Down In The Broom
04. Dennis Hopper
05. Freak Street
06. Sticky Fingers
07. Why Should I Love You
08. The Golden Work
09. My Wanderings In The Weary Land
10. Postcard From The Celtic Dreamtime
11. Good Luck Seeker
12. Beauty In Repetition
14. The Land Of Sunset
Mike Scott - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Steve Wickham - Electric fiddle, Mandolin
Ralph Salmins - Drums
Brother Paul - Keyboards
Jess Kav - Vocals
Zeenie Summers - Vocals
Aongus Ralston - Bass
https://mikescottwaterboys.com / https://www.facebook.com/WaterboysMusic
Total: 7.5 / 10