Mike Badger


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Volume is former La's man Mike Badger's debut solo album, and he presents himself within as a consummate singer/songwriter. Obviously, Badger takes center stage, but he does have some high-flying friends waiting helpfully in the wings. Fellow La Paul Hemmings not only oversees production, but lends a hand on guitar, as well as sharing songwriting credits on two tracks. The Christians' Henry Priestman accompanies on organ and piano, while Tommy Scott of Space fame offers backing vocals as needed, payback for the album covers Badger helped design for his band. So, a true Liverpool lovefest, but the end result is not quite what one would expect. Volume is a deeply introspective album, filled with deep reflections; the sound is sparse but the moods are atmospheric, a rainy afternoon spent musing on life and love, politics and society. The set's melodies are all dreamy and delicate, creating a subtle backwash for Badger's nuanced lyrics. Some are a single thought and refrain, as with "Perpetual Emotion," others vignettes of space, place, and emotion, as in the lovely "Turn to Her" or the quietly infectious "Where Love Is." Elsewhere, "James Earl Ray" is a potent piece on injustice, as is the vividly drawn "Poverty of the Heart," one of the strongest songs on the set. The slow-building dreamscape "Twilight in D" -- one of a pair of gorgeous instrumentals -- spins the album out in a glorious shimmer of sound. An immaculate, incandescent album that puts Badger firmly into the cream of Britain's songwriters.

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