Thursday, 1 August 2019

Wet Wet Wet - Picture This (1995)

I feel it in my fingers....

  

Released on 10 April 1995

Running time 45.05

This was Wet Wet Wet's fourth album (or fifth if you count "The Memphis Sessions"). This saw the band at the height of their commercial success. Unfortunately, the were never really able to shake off their teen pop image, despite putting out some credible, soulful pop music. They were a proper band, not a stool-sitting, crooning "boy band" and should always be treated as such. This is my favourite of their albums. The group had mastered their sound by now, mixing punchy horns with big string orchestration, plus electric guitar, "proper drums" and singer Marti Pellow's unique, expressive voice. It was a good, solid sound and the production on this album is impressive, you can clearly hear the progress since 1987's "Popped In Souled Out".

TRACK LISTING

1. Julia Says
2. After The Love Goes
3. Somewhere Somehow
4. Gypsy Girl
5. Don't Want To Forgive Me Now
6. She Might Never Know
7. Someone Like You
8. Love Is My Shepherd
9. She's All On My Mind
10. Morning
11. Home Tonight
12. Love Is All Around                               

"Julia Says" is a beautiful, orchestrated ballad, but an unusual choice for an album opener. It is full of big production. Marti Pellow's vocal is excellent on this, particularly at the end, as the song gets more dramatic. "After The Love Goes" is sort of Americana meets big, brassy soul. The vocal and verses have hints of The Band about them. The chorus is full-on horn-driven pop/soul. There are folky aspects too, plus a great guitar solo. All sorts of styles are in this one. "Somewhere Somehow" is a deep, bassy, singalong slow rock ballad. On the second verse Pellow's voice is simply superb - full of genuine soul delivery. Wet Wet Wet may not be to everyone's taste, but I have no shame in saying that I love this track. So I like the Clash, Mott The Hoople, The Ramones, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones as well. So what. Good music is good music.


"Gypsy Girl" is a delightful piece of melodic, acoustic folk-influenced fare. A lovely song. "Don't Want To Forgive Me Now" was a hit single, full of hooks, a great chorus and an upbeat Elvis Costello feel to it. "She Might Never Know" is a bluesy, brassy number with a bit of Southside Johnny in the vocals and the big brass interjections. It has a nice little bass line near the end. "Someone Like You" is a grand, soulful ballad with a few country twangs in the guitar backing. "Love Is My Shepherd" continues the slow trend with another smoky ballad.

Most of Wet Wet Wet's albums seemed to have second halves full of sumptuous slow numbers and we get another one here in the rich soul pop of "She's All On My Mind", which has airs of Burt Bacharach to it. It has a very catchy chorus, as indeed does the quietly majestic "Morning". Both of these were lower top twenty hits, largely because of their choruses, no doubt. "Home Tonight" stays low-key, but solidly bassy in its backing. It has a lovely vocal once more. Then, finally, we get their big one - their huge number one cover of The Troggs' little known and unremarkable track, "Love Is All Around", given a barnstorming big production makeoever. It was number one for weeks in 1994. You can hear why, it is simply a great pop record. When Marti sings "oh yes it is"  after delivering the first it is still a tingling moment. For me, anyway.

The album has some great pop/soul moments but, like most of the group's albums, the momentum is lost a bit during the second half as the tempo drops with that series of slower numbers, but let that not detract too much from the general quality on offer. I listened to this album a lot in the nineties and it served as pleasant, casual fare.

B-

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