Grown-Up Late Night Songs For Heart of Saturday Night.
This is another of the albums that has been lying around the office hinterland for a couple of months; and is still worthy of a few loving words.
Much like a lot of people who read my reviews Andy Lucas has spent a career in the shadows of the music industry predominantly playing piano for other people; but has previously released another solo album (a hit in Beirut apparently!).
Our paths have crossed a few times over the years and more recently with him being a key member of both Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire and Blue Rose Code; so a cursory listen to his latest release was always going to happen.
I’m pleased I did; even though the content is absolutely nothing like either of those bands.
Opening track House of Cards finds Andy on something of a Jazzy singer-songwriter vibe; with his stark piano playing being the perfect accompaniment for his deep and meaningful words about his part in the break-up of a loving relationship. The classy brass section and powerhouse bass in the background keep everything from sounding too schmaltzy or tearful.
It took me a few plays to totally get my head around where Lucas was coming from; but when the penny dropped I got the feeling that he desperately wants to avoid comparisons with Jamie Cullum and Jools Holland; which he has done with the raffish Wednesday and to some extent Money being slightly tongue in cheek and owe a lot more to Randy Newman and maybe even Harry Nillson than the other two.
Oh; with February 14th just around the corner the song Valentine is being released as a single. In keeping with the rest of the songs here it’s not a ‘moon in June’ happy-clappy love song; no it’s a fully fledged song aimed at Grown-Ups who still believe in ‘the sparkle in your smile/and staying in/making love/ and drinking gin.’ A clever set of words and a deeply intense musical interlude combine exceptionally well; in my humble opinion.
There is also a darker; albeit dour Scottish grey tone about some of his lyrics too; Pills For Thrills and False Prophets exploring subject matter that will scare the more sensitive among us; but tired old cynics like me will love them to bits and recognise some of the characters Lucas sings about.
Possibly Andy Lucas’s finest song here is the heart pumping Rain; which comes across as a tricky mix of Travis, Damien Rice and Georgie Fame. An obviously talented pianist Lucas races along at a breakneck pace on a bittersweet love song that will certainly stand the test of time; and wouldn’t be out of place on one of those Sunday Radio 2 shows.
But; that’s not my ‘favourite song’; no that accolade goes to All That I Am which closes the record; and finds the singer-songwriter at his late night loneliest and saddest; on a song that can only be played in the dark and when Tom Waits said “the piano has been crying” he could have been talking about this actual song.
To some degree it’s a waste of a talent for Andy Lucas to make a living as a professional side-man; but music like this isn’t fashionable at the moment; but that day will surely come and you will remember where you first read about Andy Lucas when you see him on the Graham Norton Show singing his latest million seller.
Released May 2017