THE PICCADILLY RECORDS ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2022.
PICCADILLY RECORDS EXCLUSIVE:
For a limited period only, buy either the CD or vinyl you’ll get an exclusive 14 track CD bonus disc, 'Live At Strathaven'.
Finding that luck, love and letting things roll works out for him just fine, Michael Head leads his Red Elastic Band into a fresh chapter with optimism and some of the best music of his career, releases his, Bill Ryder-Jones-produced album, Dear Scott.
Revered by heavyweight songwriting peers and discovered by new generations of discerning listeners, all enraptured by the fruits of Head’s winding, 40-year career, the Liverpool singer-songwriter enters a new age of creativity and collaboration with Dear Scott. Promising to be a shimmering jewel cast by the minds and hearts of Merseyside’s finest musicians, the 12-track album is dusted with both Ryder-Jones’ artistry and the heavyweight musicianship of The Red Elastic Band, which Head found had ‘stepped up’ following almost a year apart, forcing him to dig deeper himself.
Of slipping back into writing and recording in 2021, Head continues: “After being apart for a while, I went for a walk on the beach with the band and it was beautiful, literally and personally. Rehearsals followed and it clicked into place, with one thing leading to the next. It’s very much the ethos we’re working by, keeping things simple, but keeping the momentum. I’d met Bill a few times and he’s a lovely guy. Once we knew he was interested in producing the album we didn’t need to think about it again, it just progressed and became a completely natural thing.”
Dear Scott refers to novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose debt-ridden, down-and-out years captured the imagination of Head, specifically a postcard Fitzgerald addressed to himself upon checking in at Hollywood’s infamous Golden Age retreat, The Garden Of Allah Hotel. Head explains: “A decade after being the king of the jazz age, Fitzgerald arrived unfashionable and sober, ready to conquer Hollywood. His agent with a sense of humour booked him into The Garden Of Allah, where writers, movie stars and even Stravinsky sometimes lived. He famously picked up a postcard on checking in and addressed it to himself.”
The postcard read: Dear Scott, How are you? Have been meaning to come and see you. I have living at the Garden Of Allah. Yours Scott Fitzgerald
Head states that the formation of The Red Elastic Band in 2008 began with ‘whoever was available at the time’, primarily as a vehicle for live performance, producing one, previous album in 2017’s Adiós Señor Pussycat. The band has since developed into a cohesive, mutually-supportive and permanent line-up, with Phil Murphy on drums, Tom Powell on bass, Danny Murphy on guitars and Nathaniel Cummins on guitars and backing vocals being the musicians taking on the world in 2022 alongside Head.
STAFF COMMENTSAndy says: Dear Scott is a masterpiece. Twelve perfect songs with melodies to die for and words that feel like scenes from a film condensed into poetry. Michael Head is the Liverpudlian genius renowned for his classic pop songs from “Thank You” and “Jean’s Not Happening” through to “Comedy” and “Meant To Be”. Forty years making music and he’s just made his joint best LP, one that if you’re into guitar based pop music you’d be daft to ignore.
It’s not always been like this. In a career buffeted by personal problems and dodgy deals it has taken the arrival of erstwhile Coral guitarist Bill Ryder Jones, a fellow Merseysider and huge fan, to draw the very best out of Mick. Bill has helped create what feels like a greatest hits LP but made up of brand new songs. There’s jangling indie pop, jazz, mystical folk, roving psych pop and even a splash of bossa, taking us right back to Mick's days as a teen star in the Pale Fountains! As I mentioned, each track is a short story or mini movie touching on the kindness of strangers, old Hollywood dreams, the futility of war, Liverpool trips, Love from afar and even a murder in gangland made wild and funky on album highlight “Gino And Rico”.
The tunes themselves are proper ear worms and the album is designed as an old fashioned two sided listen. Side 1 has six perfect pop songs, hit after hit, but flip it over and you’re whisked off into what almost feels like a song suite, interspersed as they are with towering strings, mad interludes (each track has contrasting parts that surprise and amaze) and psych rock guitar; it’s bewildering but oh so beautiful and it grows and grows with every listen. The record starts off neat but slowly expands into the stratosphere only to end on a heavenly lullaby, melancholic and magical.
Mick’s other great album, Waterpistol, was loved by all at Piccadilly nearly 30 years ago. That we’re here again all these years later is bizarre and brilliant.