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Simply Red - Time

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 3 / 7 / 2023

Simply Red - Time
Label: Warner Bros
Format: CD


Classic vintage pop-influenced latest album from the bestselling Simply Red

Simply Red's last album, ‘Blue Eyed Soul’ - described as a feelgood dance album - was released in 2019 and unfortunately subsequent promotional tours were abandoned after Covid struck. Four years later the band has returned to the studio in a more reflective mood. New album ‘Time’, the band's third album since Mick Hucknall resurrected them in 2015, is more in line with what Simply Red fans would expect. As 62 year-old Mancunian Hucknall has often said, there are two main strands to his song-writing. One that takes inspiration from the African-American rhythms of the likes of James Brown or Otis Redding; the other that follows the more melodic British tradition of bands like The Beatles, Stones and artists like David Bowie. This latter strand is to the fore on “Time”. Yet there is still a soulful feel to the sweet-talking ‘Let Your Hair Down’ and the two-part ‘Just Like You’ is driven by the saxophone of Ian Kirkham and guitarist Kenji Suzuki. Both tracks are reminiscent of 1991's ‘Stars’ which was the UK's best-selling album two years running - an achievement that helped confirm Hucknall as one of the best British singers of his generation. But with most of the tracks on ‘Time’, the emphasis is very much on skilful tunes and clever lyrics. With just an acoustic guitar to work with during lockdown, Hucknall has crafted a set of thoughtful songs more influenced by vintage pop - though with some adventurous forays into jazz, 1960s psychedelia and Dylanesque folk-rock. Highlights include ‘Better With You’ which recalls Hucknall's first meeting with his future wife, art dealer Gabriella; ‘It Wouldn't Be Me’ - a touching tale of unrequited love and “Never Be Gone” which is a poignant elegy to a departed matriarch featuring harp, guitar and synthesised strings. ‘Too Long At The Fair’ is an interesting protest song with Hucknall on harmonica and ‘Butterflies’ is a jazzy number celebrating the reopening of the world after lockdown - a song originally written for Cyndi Lauper. The album's final track is ‘Earth In A Lonely Space’, Simply Red's pandemic single, which features various psychedelic adornments plus Sgt. Pepper-style brass. ‘Time’ is an album that really showcases Hucknall's versatility and originality. His fans are sure to enjoy it!

Track Listing:-
1 Better With You
2 Just Like You
3 Let Your Hair Down
4 Shades 22
5 It Wouldn't Be Me
6 Never Be Gone
7 Too Long At The Fair
8 Slapbang
9 Hey Mister
10 Just Like You, Pt. 2
11 Butterflies
12 Earth In A Lonely Space
13 You Make Me Feel Brand New
14 Better With You
15 My Love

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live reviews

La Marina, Valencia, Spain, 7/6/2022
Simply Red - La Marina, Valencia, Spain, 7/6/2022
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