A legend of pop music, Edwyn Collins has only occasionally risen above the underground, first with his connoisseur Scot-pop band Orange Juice, and, in 1994, with his “A Girl Like You” smash hit. Things are unlikely to change with the release of this latest album. Again, Collins ardently does what he’s always done, steadfastly refusing to give in to commercial pressure.
Collins remains faithful to his pop vision, to such an extent that his refusal to loosen up is almost annoying. He is completely set on going through with his ideas, never bowing to spontaneity or whimsy. This is his music, and he’s not going to compromise to the impatient at heart. Collins may be a posh, self-indulgent snob, but he is one in admiringly fashion. And of course, Collins is right and we’re wrong. Doctor Syntax may seem slightly irritating or merely unassuming at first listen, but it’s an album that will grow on you if you just let it.
Referencing XTC, 1980s Bowie and his beloved Beatles, it’s clear that Collins’s musical focus hasn’t shifted all that much in his near two-decades long career. He is perfecting his pop craft with each succeeding album, and Doctor Syntax really catches him at the top of his game. It surely isn’t for everyone, but Collins wouldn’t have it any other way. A beautiful album from one of the truly overlooked craftsmen of pop music.
Instinct Records: http://www.instinct-online.com/