The 2010 album Losing Sleep is Edwyn Collins' first since the stroke and subsequent complications that almost took his life in 2005. His long recovery was remarkable and the record finds him in fine voice, with undiminished songwriting skills, throughout. Still deeply resonant and rich, his voice is a treasure and to have it stilled would have been a tragedy. Losing Sleep is a document of Collins' recovery, his strength, and the love his fellow musicians feel for him. It’s dotted by appearances by famous chums like Johnny Marr and Roddy Frame, members of bands influenced by his work (like Franz Ferdinand and the Cribs), and young upstarts (the Drums). They co-write songs, sing with him, and play with the core band (including longtime collaborator Paul Cook on drums) to great effect, but at the core of Losing Sleep is the soul of Collins. He sings movingly of the changes he’s been through, the confusion and helplessness, the success he’s had, and the struggles yet to conquer -- all with the clear-eyed sensibility and honesty you’d expect from one of the best songwriters of the past 50 years. With the help of his cohort Sebastian Lewsley, Collins' loose and punchy production gives the songs a kick, rocking hard at times, bouncing like an old Northern soul classic at others. Quite a few of them will fit in nicely on the next hits collection: the title track is a charging rocker that will get feet moving at an indie disco; "Come Tomorrow, Come Today" (a Marr co-write) has a lovely melody and an inspiring chorus; and the jangling "Do It Again" features a storming Alex Kapranos vocal. The rest aren’t far behind either, with all the guests bringing their best efforts and never elbowing Collins out of the spotlight. Indeed, the record could have been a star-studded mess if it weren’t for the sympathy and love they show Collins, and for his own indomitable strength and spirit. As it stands, Losing Sleep is a heartwarming tribute to Collins and a statement that, although he’s still on the mend, he’s still got a lot more to give. Those who have ever fallen in love with a Collins vocal, been sideswiped by one of his melodies, or had their breath knocked out by a lyric will be glad to hear that, and should definitely make sure they hear Losing Sleep.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra