Paul Haig

Go Out Tonight

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Paul Haig's second album of pop songs in two years, after nearly two decades focusing mostly on electronic instrumental music, Go out Tonight sounds very much like a conscious response to bands like the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, whose new wave of Brit-pop owes much to Haig's pioneering early-'80s band Josef K. Though an electronic sheen still covers most of Go out Tonight, the album has more guitars than anything he's recorded since he moved into electronic music with the start of his solo career in 1982, and the drums have more rock & roll stomp than dancefloor groove. A concept album of sorts in the sense that Haig's lyrics regularly touch on various aspects, both positive and negative, of a night on the town, Go out Tonight lacks the sort of shorthand urban poetry that Alex Turner and Alex Kapranos excel at in their own lyrics. Indeed, one of the album's most effective songs, the foreboding swirl of "Fantasize," is an instrumental. But Haig has never been known for his brilliant poesy, so the overall effect has more to do with how the songs sound than what they mean, and on that count, Go Out Tonight just might be the best album of Paul Haig's solo career. For the first time, Haig has returned to the scrappy indie rock rush of Josef K (the all-guitar final song, "Gone in a Moment," is the most overtly Josef K-like song in Haig's entire solo catalog) along with the sometimes chilly electronic sheen of earlier solo albums like Chain, and the dance-rock hybrid works as a treat throughout this energetic and immensely likeable album.

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