After suffering two strokes in 2005, as well as a case of MRSA, Edwyn Collins cements his return to the music industry by creating a successful seventh solo album. His popularity and influence upon today’s artists, after all, his band Orange Juice are considered to be one of the founding father’s of ‘Indie’, is demonstrated by their willingness to collaborate with him. The LP features support from The Cribs, Franz Ferdinand, Johnny Marr and Ian Curtis’ apparent impersonator (to any of those who have been unfortunate enough to see them live); Jonathan Pierce from The Drums.
Unsurprisingly, the record features a deep exploration into the emotional impact of his illness, as exemplified in the title track when Collins appears to brush aside his ‘losing sleep and losing dignity’, by vowing to ‘retrieve the things that I know’. Indeed, this theme is masterfully continued when Collins and Ryan Jarman of The Cribs, as many of us have done on numerous occasions, question their role in life in the simple, yet effective ‘What Is My Role?’. Alex Kapranos, of Franz Ferdinand, impacts upon the record by inviting Collins to reach out to the music world, and indeed his inner self, to effectively encourage him to realise that he can ‘do it again'. This defiant theme continues with the upbeat ‘Come Tomorrow, Come Today’, in which Collins convincingly and, with a manner of authority, asserts that there will be ‘no more tears’.
The Edinburgh born musician demonstrates that an ‘old dog’ can be ‘taught new tricks’ by showing his openness to musical variety in ‘In Your Eyes’, where the musical background very much reflects the increasingly popular lo fi, new wave pop sound that has recently gripped the music scene. The final two songs of the album allow Collins to slow the tempo of the record down remarkably with the singer philosophically crooning that ‘we’ll get there in the end;’ a thoughtful conclusion to a very thoughtful album.
Despite the influence of different artists, it is clear that each song is led by Collins, and that his vibrant sound remains imprinted upon the record.
Upon completing the album, it is possible that the Scottish singer has figured out his role in life; and that is to create likeable, intelligent guitar pop music to a universal audience who have always appreciated his creative talents.