The perfect album for a day at the beach, Rea's eighth album takes the listener from the water's edge of the title song to the sunny fields of the French countryside in "Giverny." The upbeat reggae feel of "Lucky Day" works particularly well, but it is "On the Beach" that's the standout track. Rea seems to think so, too, as he's recorded it numerous times. The version here, though, is the most evocative, a little slower and more meditative than others. The lyrics, as in many of his songs, deal with remembrance and old love. "Little Blonde Plaits," "Hello Friend," and "It's All Gone" are other examples of this theme that appear on the album. While his later release, The Road to Hell, shows the darker side of Rea's worldview, On the Beach is an excellent introduction to his brighter, more optimistic songwriting. The last three songs are bonus tracks that were not on the original LP release, "Bless Them All" being a smooth, fluid instrumental.
AllMusic Review by Rob Caldwell