Ian Hunter always struck me as one of those rock stars who outlasted his usefulness. Mott was cool and All The Good Ones Are Taken was alright but after that what is there to get excited about? The songs he records are average, his voice nothing special, musicianship appropriate but less than thrilling.
I went into the room alone with his new album, Man Overboard, hoping as I always do: that I’ll find something special I’ll want to write home (to you!) about.
The Great Escape starts out with some promise, a touch of the Pogues underlying an otherwise average song. Unfortunately, like the career of Daryl Strawberry, promise only goes so far. Up And Running is a medium tempo stomp that sounds like someone trying to sound like Keith Richards (without the sloppy drunk rhythm guitar that makes Kool Keith cool).Â
Arms And Legs is actually a decent piece of work. A solid guitar opening, standard grade but acceptable lyrics and a nice melody, a little bit like Bryan Adams without all the usual kitchen sink pop cliches. Nice harmonies at the end, too.
The rest of the record veers about a cadre of styles, from late night, post-footie singalongs (Man Overboard) to heading home ballads (River of Tears, which is actually kind of pretty). Bad, no. But with bands like MUTEMath and singers like Dan Auerbach and Iron and Wine available to my ears, I have to ask why I would want to invest in an old man who hasn’t done much new for too many years.
Listen and disagree if you wish…