Edwyn Collins

Hellbent on Compromise

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Following the demise of Orange Juice, the solo Edwyn Collins took some time to build a commercial platform -- at least, he did in his native Britain. Fans of his wistful yet terse songwriting were mainly scattered around central Europe, but his debut effort, 1989's Hope and Despair won a series of glowing reviews. Sadly, he largely squandered those good impressions with this follow-up, which too often lacks the strength of arrangement to carry through Collins' lyrical ideas and projects. "You Poor Deluded Fool" and "What's the Big Idea?" would certainly have benefited from a proper band setting, instead of the largely predictable studio keyboards that dominate. The cover of Smokey Robinson's "My Girl Has Gone" does no one any favors either. The campaign for real songwriting, to paraphrase a later Collins' track, would have to wait until his next album for a second significant, by-election victory.

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