Review Summary: The Lazarus of British Indie takes another step.
Some would say it’s a miracle that Edwyn Collins even brings out new LPs anymore. The victim of two cerebral haemorrhages in early 2005, he looked certain to set out on a very long road to recovery. At this point, it was assumed that his stellar music career had finished for good. You know what they say though: “You can’t keep a good man down.” Collins returned just a touch over two years later with the excellent Home Again
and his progress in recovery was such that he was able to compliment the album with a smattering of live dates. The intervening four years have seen the former Orange Juice vocalist keeping himself busy; a documentary on his physical rehabilitation was released, appearances at Glastonbury and live cameos with the likes of Franz Ferdinand and The Maccabees.
One would assume that after such a life-changing, near-death experience the following years and, in this case, musical output would be introspective, maudlin and downright gloomy. Perhaps justifiably so. Throughout his career Collins has given the impression that a piddling notion like a bleeding brain could never keep him on the sidelines and that is given credence with the fast-paced, uplifting and star-studded Losing Sleep
The album is another distinct step forward in Collins’ revitalised career. The production is solid and his voice retains that smooth edge that still carries with it the slightest sense of vulnerability. The first notable change from Home Again
is the overall sound. Here, songs like “What Is My Role"”, “Bored” and “Come Tomorrow, Come Today” are complemented with an almost grungy guitar sound. This is due in part to Collins’ choice of collaborators. As well as The Cribs’ Jarman brothers providing lead vocals and instrumentation, Collins has drafted in current Cribs and former Modest Mouse guitarist Johnny Marr and Alex Kapranos, vocalist with the once ubiquitous Franz Ferdinand. As a result the tone of the album swings seamlessly from fast-paced rock to slower, more woozy and luscious numbers. The last two tracks deal with the latter style; “All My Days” and “Searching For The Truth” are tender and precious and provide a soothing comedown for all of the energy expended during the rest of the album. It shows a side to Collins that might still feel isolated after his health problems, despite his friends and contemporaries eager to rally around him. It’s also a testament to the fact that despite the many setbacks incurred this century, he’s able to craft genuine and heartfelt tunes that put his competitors to shame.