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ian mcnabb, a party political broadcast on behalf of the emotional party

Reviewed by Richard Peat

Fairfield. Released October 1998. In stores 26 October 1998.

After three rock albums Ian McNabb has taken off his leathers and boots and slipped into a cardigan and slippers. If you've heard and loved all those acoustic B sides then you're in for a treat cos here you get a whole album of them. Yet again Ian has focussed on his icon Neil Young but has moved away from the Crazy Horse era to a Harvest sound. Ian here is relaxed and obviously enjoying himself. This is supported by the fact that this is an independent release on his own label, with no singles planned for release. Strictly speaking this is not an acoustic album as there are electric guitars, but the volume is turned low. The music may be toned down but in fact it increases the depth of the songs. For example "Liverpool Girl" on the '96 demo's CD was a tongue-in-cheek rock number; here it is turned into a melancholy ballad. The addition of Mike Scott's acoustic guitar, Anthony Thistlethwait's mandolin and Danny Thompson's double bass, coupled with a complete lack of any drums or percussion, adds to the emotion of the tracks.

Focussing on the other nine tracks here is a brief resume: "Sex with Someone You Love" is a laid back simple song with a story telling lyric. "A Guy Like You (& a Girl Like You)" is a purely acoustic modern folk song. "Loveless Age" sounds like Dylan, which is supported by Mike's Scott's gravelly backing vocals.

"You Only Get What You Deserve" is an anguished protest song while "Bloom," "The Man who can make a Woman Laugh," "Absolutely Wrong" and "Girls are Birds" offer a range of acoustic numbers with either very positive or blues lyrics.

"Little Princess" is the black sheep of the album which, though still drumless, absolutely swings. With a rhythmic electric guitar echo and the added deep sax it sounds like a Pink Floyd demo. I'd love to hear this live with the full band.

All in all, as the great man would say, "Cool."

Richard Peat, 14 October 1998.

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