The Caretaker sees John Greaves coming back to the rock song format, something he had not done since the 1996 CD Songs. After a few disappointing side projects (like the crooner album On the Street Where You Live) he delivered a strong, inspired opus mostly influenced by his work with Peter Blegvad. The singer/songwriter and longtime friend contributed two new songs ("One in the Eye" and "He Puts Us Under") and Greaves added to his own repertoire Blegvad's "In Hell's Despite" (written with XTC's Andy Partridge) in a clever rock arrangement that takes it to a different place than the folk ballad recorded for Just Woke Up. On The Caretaker, the bassist/piano/singer is accompanied by François Ovide on guitars and Manuel Denizet on drums. His sinuous basslines grace every track. His own songs adopt a style similar to Blegvad, so does his vocal delivery: the lyrics touching yet satirical, the music simple yet always slightly "abnormal," disquieting, or even avant-gardist. "Earthly Powers" and "Turning Pages" rank among his best compositions, so does "One Day My Feet Will Reach the Ground," which also features Scott Taylor on accordion and Syd Straw on vocals. Very satisfying on first spin, The Caretaker quickly grows on the listener. As a bonus, the cover artwork is both original and striking. Anyone who enjoyed Blegvad's Hangman's Hill should listen to this one. Recommended.
AllMusic Review by François Couture