Edwyn Collins

I'm Not Following You

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Having found himself back in the commercial limelight with Gorgeous George, Collins followed it up with the equally -- possibly even more -- delightful I'm Not Following You. Trademark wit blended with passion intact and with key sideplayers drummer Paul Cook and bassist Clare Kenny helping out among many others -- including a wonderfully scabrous vocal cameo by Mark E. Smith on the very disco "Seventies Night" -- Collins tries all sorts of different things and more often than not comes up with the goods. "The Magic Piper (Of Love)" was the understandable lead single, catchy and with more than a little bite to it, drawing from finger-snapping hep-lounge Vegas sources and his own fun lyrics: "My girlfriend she got blotto/Half cut in Santa's grotto/It turns out he's a dirty old man." Add to that some just right flute and a clever brass sample that suddenly turns into an orchestrated sample from the Velvet Underground, and the man still has it. It's one of many joys throughout, with Collins showing a musical heterodoxy that would probably stupefy most other bands or acts. "Seventies Night," for example, is followed up by the sweet orchestration and quick acoustic fingerpicking of "No One Waved Goodbye," a regretful look at a relationship in pieces. There's full-on feedback and pounding drums, there's sly, compressed production touching quirky keyboards and Euro/cabaret arrangements, and even the self-explanatory Hammond-tinged "Country Rock." The hint of wistful nostalgia is often matched by the lyrics, with asides like "I'm going back to my old school/Cause to tell you the truth/All those songs of my youth/Move this old fool." Not many musicians so readily and easily allow for the hints of the passage of time. Leave it to Collins to find a number of ways to do just that.

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