The Waterboys

Book of Lightning

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Mike Scott recorded his ninth Waterboys record live in the studio, bringing along some old friends and re-igniting a fire that had been burning awfully low since 2003's deeply introspective and inconsistent Universal Hall. Opening with Book of Lightning's finest four minutes, the gorgeous "Crash of Angel's Wings," fueled by the instantly recognizable laser sweep of longtime Julian Cope collaborator Thighpaulsandra, Scott doesn't just breath life back into the band, he makes it sound like a band again. This is the amiable and slightly mischievous Waterboys of old, as evidenced by the tight, Beatles-inspired "Nobody's Baby Anymore," which takes a winking look at age, success, and longing for the day where "Peacocks danced around my eyes" and "I kissed riches/Strode tall in my britches," but that's not to say that the weighty themes of life, loss, faith, and hope aren't still the bedrock on which Scott builds his sonic temples. "Strange Arrangement" echoes the more soulful, R&B-influenced ballads from Room to Roam, the aching "Sustain" relies heavily on Vancouver backing band Great Aunt Ida's dynamic, tide-like construction and longtime trumpet collaborator Roddy Lorimer's steeple-high runs, and Scott revisits the "Big Music" of the Pagan Place era on "It's Gonna Rain," a rousing, vaguely apocalyptic romp that echoes "The Whole of the Moon." This time around, the soul-searching feels like part of the process rather than the mission itself, and even the somewhat manipulative "Everybody Takes a Tumble," which is nearly a carbon copy of "Fisherman's Blues," feels like a campfire full of good-natured charlatans on a stormy night, just waiting to talk the ear off of some lucky (or unlucky) traveler. [Book of Lightning is also available with a bonus DVD called The Travels of the Waterboys.]

blue highlight denotes track pick