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Groovy Uncle - No Man's An Island

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 26 / 4 / 2023

Groovy Uncle - No Man's An Island
Label: Trouserphonic Recordings
Format: CD


Tenth album under Glenn Prangnell’s Groovy Uncle banner finds him diverting from his usual musical path

The tenth album from Glenn Prangnell under his Groovy Uncle guise finds Prangnell taking a slightly different path musically than we’ve come to expect from him; Prangnell wrote, produced and played all the instruments, the only help this time is from Chuck Sabo on drums and percussion and Richard Moore who plays violin and arranges the strings. There are no appearances from either Suzi Chunk or Miss Modus which is initially disappointing, as they always add that extra something to Groovy Uncle recordings. Usually soul and sophistication. But it doesn’t take long before our favourite Uncle gets into his own groove and we momentarily forget the absence of those two emotive vocalists. After all Prangnell is a pretty capable vocalist, and there are times here, as usual, when the listener will forget it’s Prangnell and wonder if a certain Lennon has taken over on vocals. It looks like that opening statement might have been a little too hasty. The opening song, ‘No Man’s An Island’ is a piano-led three-minute rocker that initially feels like Prangnell has moved on, albeit slightly, from his obsession with early to mid-Sixties beat groups but repeated playing betrays that thought. It could be argued that the song would have benefitted from Suzi’s twenty a day soulful vocals but after a couple of plays Prangnell’s vocals, especially when multi-tracked, shine. The album closes with a six-minute dub version of the same song ; not so sure in these early days if that works as well but time will tell. Prangnell should be congratulated for trying new avenues and maybe it’s a pointer to the future for Groovy Uncle and at least Prangnell isn’t standing still. …Actually it’s a grower. Listening to the dub version a few times in succession eventually gives it the edge over the opening version, giving Prangnell the opportunity to expand on the song. Feels I’m backtracking just over the first song; proof maybe that Prangnell’s music goes deeper than we thought. ‘Whatever Happened To You’ (TV Theme to Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads) ) immediately came to mind when first hearing ‘It Never Ends’, I’d like to tell you why but I honestly don’t know. Maybe it’s because the songs share a familiar lyrical theme, maybe it’s because Prangnell has suddenly revealed that he’s like a modern day Tony Rivers the acclaimed vocalist who sang the above mentioned song in that he can turn in outstanding vocals on every song he tackles. ‘Beneath’ finds Prangnell channeling his best Noddy Holder on a song showing his rockier side while still the ghost of Lennon is hovering the session. He slows things down for ‘Did You Fail At Life’ where his vocals are pure Prangnell. He can show emotion when needed and why does the work of Bacharach spring readily to mind here? ‘When I Get Back On My Feet Again’ is short and snappy, reinforcing the fact that Prangnell is one of our top songwriters when it comes to making melodies that will lodge in your head for days. ‘Every Action Has A Consequence’ finds Prangnell in his 60’s pop group guise. It’s (like much in his catalogue) an irresistible slice of catchy 60’s influenced pop at its best. ‘All That Matters’ is in the same vein, handclaps and all, an absolute gem of a song. ‘It’s Mad If You Ask Me’ is more than worthy of inclusion on a Kinks album, no make that single material. ‘Self Assembly’ finds Prangnell turning in maybe his best vocal performance on an album where his vocals are some of the best we’ve heard so far from him. All in all, ‘No Man’s An Island’ is yet another strong, solid album from one of our most underrated singer/songwriters/one man band. By the end of the album we’ve almost (but not quite) forgotten that Suzi or Miss Modus are absent. As usual with Groovy Uncle albums mention must be made of the cover art, always something special and this time is no exception even down to the mock Island Records design on the label. Brilliant!

Track Listing:-
1 No Man's An Island
2 It Never Ends
3 Beneath
4 Did You Fail At Life?
5 When I Get Back On My Feet Again
6 Every Action Has A Consequence
7 We Had Holidays
8 All That Matters
9 Breathing
10 It's Mad, If You Ask Me
11 Self Assembly
12 Island Dub Mix

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Interview (2014)
Groovy Uncle - Interview
Malcolm Carter talks to Glenn Prangnell, the front man with 60's-influenced Medway-based act Groovy Uncle's recently released third album, ‘One Vowel Away from the Truth'


One Vowel Away From the Truth/Life's a Gift (2020)
Groovy Uncle - One Vowel Away From the Truth/Life's a Gift
Malcolm Carter reflects on the reissue of two of 60's pop-influenced Medway-based band Groovy Uncle’s finest albums on extremely limited vinyl.



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