Thursday, 8 August 2019

Ali Campbell's UB40 - Silhouette (2014)


  

Released in 2014

This is the first album from singer/songwriter Ali Campbell's breakaway triumvirate from UB40, including toaster Astro and keyboardist Mickey Virtue. As a long time UB40 fan since 1980, unlike some, I don't take sides. I enjoy the music made by both UB40 incarnations. Good music is good music, after all.

TRACK LISTING

1. Anytime At All
2. Silhouette
3. Cyber Bully Boys
4. Reggae Music
5. I'm Missing You
6. Who Will Remember Them
7. Fijian Sunset
8. Sha La La
9. Tomorrow On My Shoulders
10. Our Love
11. History
12. I Want You
13. Yes I'm Ready                                                                               

"Anytime At All" is a staccato, appealing enough tune, but Campbell's voice sounds a bit deadpan on the song. I was listening to it and thought, this sounds like The Beatles. Of course it does, they recorded it on "A Hard Day's Night". "Silhouette" is more recognisable as Ali Campbell and has a nice, deep bass backing. Old mate Astro adds some quality toasting near the end. This is a good track. Apparently it was a cover of a 1957 US doo-wop hit by The Rays. No, me neither. "Cyber Bully Boys" is a brassy and dubby condemnation of Campbell's ex-band members, which I find churlish and unnecessary, but it is a good skank, as indeed is the very UB40 "Reggae Music", featuring Astro once more. Nice dub passage at the end too.


"I'm Missing You" is an appealing Campbell love song with his voice sounding more nasally recognisable. "Who Will Remember Them" has a deep but melodic bass and an atmosphere to it. "Fijian Sunset" is another yearning, typically Campbell track. I'm not sure if "Sha La La" is a cover, but it has a very nineties lovers rock sound to it. "Tomorrow On My Shoulders" is also a fetching song with a vague country feel. Odd that, as the rival UB40 released a country reggae album around the same time.

"Our Love" has a retro reggae sound to it, sort of eighties digital in its feel. It has some nice percussion and an all round good vibe to it. "History" is catchy enough, but lyrically a bit clich├ęd - "history remains a mystery...". "I Want You" - yes it is the Bob Dylan number and it really suits Campbell's mournful voice. he does a great job on this, giving it real pathos. The horns fit the track too. The album finishes with the laid-back, summery groove of "Yes, I'm Ready". It is a cover of a Chi-Lites song. Once again, Campbell really does it justice. He always could nail a cover.

B-

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