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Having enjoyed success earlier this year with the single "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" featuring 'Brian Potter' and 'Andy Pipkin', The Proclaimers are back with album 'Life With You' which contains 13 brand new songs. This is their seventh studio album to date, and is the first for two years having released 'Restless Soul' in 2005. The Proclaimers are of course a Scottish band comprising of identical twins Charlie and Craig Reid. The band actually formed in 1983, however it was not until the January of 1987 that the band came to fame when they made an appearance on the popular music programme 'The Tube' on Channel 4. Since then the band have never gone more than 6 years without the release of a new studio album, and even then they broke up the silence with the release of an EP halfway through this six year dry period. It is no surprise then that the band are back this year and releasing new material.
As the album opens with title track 'Life With You', it is clear that the band haven't progressed much in sound since the release of the aforementioned "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"; a track that was originally released back in 1988. The opening chord is more or less identical to that used in their 1988 hit, however this is perhaps where the similarity between the two tracks finishes. The track has great potential, with a chorus that could easily have been a sing-along classic, however it never quite delivers and just feels slightly empty. It does not serve to be a great introduction to the album, however does seem to sum up how the album will progress.
With every passing minute, you begin to question further when this album is really going to start getting going, however to put it simply; it never truly does. Although not a bad album, the band just never seem to deliver at their full potential here. The music for the most part just seems devoid of any real passion, and this is never a good thing to hear in an album. You just don't ever feel that the Reid twins truly believe in what they are singing for the majority of the album here and therefore listening to 'Life With You' becomes somewhat of a chore.
As the band meander through the 13 tracks on the album, there is of course the odd track that does seem to ignite and provide an entertaining listening experience. The tracks 'S.O.R.R.Y' and 'The Long Haul' for instance are interesting tracks as here the band take on the issue of the war in Iraq and America's stance on the issue of terrorism with a real sense of anger, and for once there is a definite passion in their tone here. I feel that they are singing like they mean it in these two tracks, and this is a great thing to hear as it is not something that comes across an awful lot throughout the albums duration. These two tracks are extremely intelligently crafted, with the brothers really showing their strength in song writing here. Despite a high degree of passion shown in these two tracks, it's just not enough for me as it in no way makes up for the fact that for the majority of the album the twins vocals and lyrics are devoid of truth, meaning, and passion.
Over the years, The Proclaimers have shown their love of other artists music with various covers and this fact is once again true here. On 'Life With You', the band have chosen to do a cover of the Wreckless Eric track 'Whole Wide World' and have covered it extremely well. This one suits their sound extremely well, and is in my opinion perhaps the best track on the album. When the best a band come up with on an album is a cover, you just know things haven't gone well for them. From the way this one is sung, it is clear that the band have a genuine love of the track and this is a great thing to hear from them.
As the album comes to a close with the track 'If There's A God', it's impossible not to be disappointed with the album you have just spent the last hour listening to. This final track on the album doesn't leave you wanting for more, but instead has you feeling glad that the album is finally about to finish. With its slow pace and non-existent passion, 'If There's A God' finishes the CD disappointingly and although only 5 minutes in length seems to drag on no end. It isn't even that its a badly written track, it just suffers from the same downfall as much of the rest of the album; the lack of passion provided here. You really don't get the impression that the duo are singing like they mean it, and although the lyrics here have the potential to be extremely powerful - the fact they are sung in such a half hearted manner means this is not so.
I would only recommend this album to the most die hard of Proclaimers fans, as anyone else is unlikely to derive much satisfaction from this release. A lot of the songs show great promise, but just don't quite cut it and thus become tiresome extremely quickly. Whilst their classic tracks "Letter from America" and "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" will last long in the memory of many, there is little here which will have much of a lasting impact on any of its listeners. It would seem that The Proclaimers music is not quite as it was 20 years ago as although their musical intelligence and expertise is highly apparent, a love of the music they are producing is not.
Label: W14 Music
Release Date: 3rd September 2007
Originally posted by me on my website Alt-UK.com
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Life With You
2 In Recognition
3 New Religion
5 No One Left To Blame
6 Here It Comes Again
7 Blood Lying On Snow
8 Harness Pain
9 The Long Haul
10 The Lover's Face
11 Whole Wide World
12 Calendar On The Wall
13 If There's A God