Sunday, 30 September 2012

BRUCE FOXTON – ALBUM REVIEW

Bruce Foxton - Back In The Room

Bruce Foxton – Back in the Room (Basstone Records)

Release Date: 1st October 2012

Bruce Foxton was the Bassist in the Jam. There, I said it. Let’s just get that out there. Everybody comfortable with that? Made your peace? Sure? Right, let’s get on with this album then. Intriguingly, this album is being released through the thoroughly laudable Pledge Music system whereby fans can pre-order the album and special experiences (i.e. a round of Golf with Bruce and his bandmates) which then funds the recording of the album. This is all wonderful but you can’t help but feel that such schemes are better utilised by bands just starting out on their musical careers rather than who have already achieved legendary status.
                No matter, we still need to consider this album on its musical merits regardless of the peripherals don’t we? The lyricless ‘Ride’ kick starts things with what might well be the new theme tune for Top Gear if it undergoes a minor image change and Steve Coogan takes over from Jeremy Clarkson. It’s all circular riffs, chugging bass and soaring harmonies that conjur images of speeding through the English countryside in an open-top Jaguar on the way to a private studio in a barn conversion. Second track, ‘Number Six’, is Wild Wood-era Paul Weller which is no surprise considering he is on Guitar duties but it is slightly disappointing that Bruce hasn’t taken a more different route to his former bandmate. Weller also features heavily on the more upbeat ‘Window Shopping’ and the Kinks-esque ‘Coming on Strong’. I’ve got no problem with the songs, they are all perfectly catchy and toe-tappingly entertaining but if Weller and Foxton are going to produce such similar sounding music then surely we are only a third away from a Jam reunion and that would be much more exciting!
                There are a couple of standout tracks on this album, namely the reflective ‘Glad I Found My Tears’ and the intriguing instrumentality of ‘The Wide Open Road’ that seemingly features a Clarinet solo if my ears don’t deceive me. Then there’s ‘The Gaffa’ that sounds like the theme tune to an ill-conceived Dennis Waterman comeback vehicle based on the life of David Essex’s drunken tour manager. ‘Drifting Dreams’ is a wistful love song that was probably written on an acoustic guitar whilst Bruce sat around the bonfire sharing stories with some of his chums from back in the day. The album finishes off with the sha-la-las of ‘Reflection’ and the medieval sounding ‘Senses of Summer’ drifting gently out of the speakers. I’ve struggled with this review as I really can’t tell whether I like this album but there’s nothing wrong with it so I can’t bring myself to really slag it off. The only problem is it feels like such a missed opportunity to do something more exciting. I mean, Weller and Foxton in the studio at the same time and no more serious a collaboration than a couple of tracks hidden in the middle of the album? Wasted chance if you ask me.

More information: http://www.brucefoxton.com/

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