Any Trouble

Life in Reverse

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AllMusic Review by

In 1998, at the time he was promoting his I Love This Town album, Clive Gregson indicated that his former '80s pop band, Any Trouble, would re-form only if original guitarist Chris Parks were involved. Thankfully, 25 years after the early lineup had last played together, the planets aligned and Gregson, Parks, bassist Phil Barnes, and drummer Martin Hughes were able to re-form and perform live for the first time since 1981. With renewed interest in the band, they set about recording a new studio album, although Barnes (who had played on all four of AT's original albums) had to opt out and was replaced by Plainsong bassist Mark Griffiths. The results are everything an Any Trouble and Clive Gregson fan could ever wish for...except not quite as fast. Longtime fans will always cherish the band's folk-inspired guitar pop played at breakneck speeds, but on Life in Reverse, Clive and the boys manage to keep the tempo upbeat but with more heart and less hustle. "That Sound" is the perfect leadoff track, a song that straddles the line between Clive's folkier solo work and the classic AT "sound." "What Do I Have to Do?" features stellar guitar work from Parks, who still plays fresh, crisp, and clean guitar lines that truly sing. "The Man I Used to Be" has a soulful groove accented by great organ work. "Tremolo" could have fit on the band's debut, Where Are All the Nice Girls?, but still sounds thoroughly modern. And so it goes on -- while not every track is spine-tingling, they are all worthwhile additions to the Any Trouble catalog. The album's overall vibe is closer to their debut and steers away from the slightly dark feel of their sophomore album, Wheels in Motion. Life in Reverse celebrates the past while also looking forward and is an album the band (and its fans) should be very pleased with. These are talented guys who never received the fame that they so deserved, but it's never too late, is it?

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