Justin Currie - The Great War
Record Label: Rykodisc
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Less than two decades ago, melodic acoustic-rock dominated the airwaves. Scottish duo The Proclaimers catapulted onto the charts on the heels of "When I Come Home," while fellow Scots Del Amitri had a runaway with the uber-catchy "Roll to Me." Here in America, the California group Toad the Wet Sprocket made a dent with "Good Intentions," while New York City's Dog's Eye View rocketed up the charts with "Everything Falls Apart." These days though, melodic acoustic-rock is heard mostly on adult contemporary stations or in open mic nights across the country.
More than ten years removed from his days in Del Amitri, singer-songwriter Justin Currie has released his second solo album, The Great War, an earnest collection of melodic acoustic-rock that probably would have been a commercial success had it been released 15 years ago. Instead this harmless, polished blend of mid-tempo Britfolk sounds eerily misplaced. Thankfully though, it's pretty spot-on from start to finish.
"Ready To Be," and "At Home Inside of Me," are proof positive that the sideburned Scot knows his way around a melody, as does the eight-minute epic "The Fight To be Human." They're catchy, sensitive and highly memorable. Most importantly, they allow Currie the chance to wear his heart on his sleeve. An unabashed romantic, Currie also ponders the ruminations of the heart on "A Man With Nothing To Do," "Anywhere I'm Away From You," and "Can't Let Go Of Her Now," while the sweetly affecting piano ballad "You'll Always Walk Alone," offers up what can arguably be described as one of his finest songs to date.
Currie readily admits that he doesn't write many uptempo songs these days and that he's unabashedly introspective. Being cognizant of that, one can't help but marvel at how sun-drenched and buoyant The Great War is. This is highly accessible, moderately commercial acoustic-based soft-rock. It probably won't sell millions but it's not going to make you clutch your ears in pain. And in a world of Auto-Tune and overnight pop-tarts, that's not exactly a bad thing.