posted on May 12, 2010 19:00
A review of the album 'Siamese' by Craig Walker
Review Snapshot: Fifteen years after the demise of his former band - the brilliant Power Of Dreams - frontman Craig Walker returns with his debut solo-album.
The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10
Earlier this year, legendary Irish indie-rockers Power Of Dreams reformed for a series of ecstatically-received gigs in the UK and Ireland. It was to celebrate the 20th - anniversary of their magnificent debut album ‘Immigrants, Emigrants and Me’ which still sounds as vibrant and emotionally-engaging now as it did in the early Nineties, testament to the quality of the songs on it (written when the band’s songwriter and frontman Craig Walker was just 17 years-old).
The fact that it’s taken almost fifteen years since the band split amicably in 1995 for his solo debut album to appear can’t be blamed on any sort of creative stagnation on his part. Instead of going on the obligatory solo run, Walker formed another band Pharmacy and later joined UK electronic act Archive as vocalist. Walker was, after all, still in his early twenties when Power Of Dreams split and wasn’t prepared just yet to deprive himself of the camaraderie of playing in a band.
It seems now though is the right time for the solo album and it’s been worth the wait. ‘Siamese’ may not have the propulsive energy of those early Power Of Dreams albums, simply because the teenage-angst that powered them is gone, replaced by a calmer thirtysomething contentment and a new sound.
Opening track and current single ‘Summertime’ is a good example: the opening lyrics ‘Let a little sunshine into your heart/It’s just too easy to be always dark’ reveals a new-found optimism and its deceptively simple (aren’t they all) chorus is insidiously catchy. It's followed by ‘You And Me’, one of the stand-out tracks here: a beautifully – crafted ballad that reminds you that, like Neil Young, Walker can do sweet and gentle as well as loud and raucous. It’s a good gift to have. Elsewhere, the excellent ‘Bright Lights’ is surely destined for radio-playlist rotation while ‘Greedy Pig’ is replete with a Gallic tinge to it, perhaps a nod to his popularity in France.
Overall, ‘Siamese’ is a slow-burning yet meticulously produced set of hook-laden songs that rewards handsomely after a few listens. Moreover, it sets in train a new phase in Walker’s musical journey. It’s great to have him back