CD Review
Always Coming Down
(Rubber Records)

cordrazineIF Barry White is fuck-your-brains out music on a round bed with satin sheets and a mirror on the ceiling, then Cordrazine’s new album is more like a bit of a cuddle on the lounge on a cold afternoon after a nice bowl of soup.

As lead singer Hamish Cowen says, “If there is one thing I always hope my songs will achieve it is to offer a sense of comfort…I think of my songs as an unconditional friend.”

In which case: mission accomplished. This is a high-quality collection of music for grown-ups. It is full of lovely melodies and memorable phrases that mercifully lacks the heavy-handedness and hookiness that you’d normally associate with such music. In other words, there is some skill and subtlety on show here. The arrangements and production is a little disappointing in that I reckon if they had a bit more money to spend on such things the album could’ve been just that bit more enticing to a wider audience, but that is a very tiny criticism in the greater scheme of things.

You might remember the band from the mid-90s, though I must admit I don’t, probably because I wasn’t around. But this new album is good enough to make me want to dig up a copy of their 1997 album, From Here To Wherever. Maybe you remember this track?

The obvious points of reference are Simply Red and Morrisey, especially Morrisey to my ears. It is tempting to say that the whole album revolves around Cowen’s distinctive voice, which I guess it does it a way, but that sells the songs themselves short. They are all strong, the musicianship is great, and professional enough that all the phrasing and soloing is there in service of the song, not anyone’s ego. But yeah, it would be silly not to acknowledge the centrality of Cowen’s singing.

There isn’t a bad song on the album, though of all of them, ‘Sunshine’ is my least favourite. It’s just that bit too twee and saccharine for my tastes. The rest of them, especially ‘Always Coming Down’, ‘Walk Away’ and ‘Untitled’ are great. Really strong.

So look, if this mature, white-eyed soul sort of thing is what floats your boat, head out next weekend, get yourself the ingredients for a good minestrone, buy the album, make the soup, and after lunch, settle in on the lounge for a nice cuddle with this perfectly judged soundtrack.

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