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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Review: Losing Sleep

Depending on your age, and your love of Scottish post-punk bands, you will either be a fan of Edwyn Collins, or only know him as the singer of a quirky hit featured on the soundtrack for 1995's Empire Records - "A Girl Like You".  Collins, who fronted a key band of the time, Orange Juice, has an entirely unique vocal style, that was very refreshing and non-mainstream in the classic 1983 hit single "Rip It Up" - one of the finest songs of the 1980s.  Collins has had a patchy career - but is beloved - and can be rightly said to have gifted us with at least three great songs in his 30-year career - for the title track of his first album since 2005, "Losing Sleep" is also splendid.

The album has been well-received in the UK, for two reasons: one, this is a near-miraculous comeback for Collins, who suffered a "double brain hemorrhage" five years ago, and had to relearn how to basically speak and play from scratch, and two, the album is also a throw-back to the sort of sweet, genuine, Motown-inflected guitar pop that recalls the era of "This Charming Man", and indeed, at least one Smiths appears here.  Hard-driving, with touching humbling lyrics, Losing Sleep is oddly uplifting, simply catchy, and makes me want to put on a shirt and tie and go dancing in a church basement.  It is growing on me with its modest style and passionate subtext of hope and recovery in the face of really appalling odds.
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