The fifth album from The Proclaimers finds Scottish twin brothers Craig and Charlie Reid bringing their heavily accented exuberance and Everly-style harmonies to a collection of songs that are perhaps a bit more grown up than what we’ve come to expect.
For this one, the boys enlisted fellow Scot Edwyn Collins (Orange Juice) to produce, and tapped their touring band to back them up. That proves a sharp move on the opening title track with Stevie Christie’s electric piano leading the way. “Our best never beats our worst / It’s as funny as it’s perverse,” the brothers sing. “Should Have Been Loved” is terrifically catchy, if a bit repetitive. And then things get really interesting.
The Reids apply their usual peppy approach to “Blood On My Hands,” which seems inappropriate given the darker lyrics and disturbing imagery. They wrap that gleeful sound around dark sentiments in “Hate My Love” as well, which ultimately proves to be a silly but fun pop song. “You’re worse than drink / You’re worse than crack / For you they should bring hanging back / And I should be the one to string you up,” they sing. Yikes! They finally do go over the edge with the grating “Role Model,” as the brothers offer these lines: “She gives dying people hope, how does she cope? / She snorts a line of coke before an audience with the Pope.”
In addition to the original songs, there’s a terrific take on the old Vogues hit “Five O’Clock World” that makes it sound like the song was tailor made for them. You wonder why they never thought to cover it before.
The guys turn in a couple of nice ballads as well, with the soulful slow dance “Unguarded Moments” and the gentle “Redeemed.” A guy reads over old love letters on the charming “You Meant It Then.” And parents engage in a tug of war over a child on “He’s Just Like Me.” Finally, and most dramatically, they sing about accepting middle age gracefully on “No Doubt.” “There’s no doubt about it now / Youth has gone / It shines upon some other brow / Not this one.”
Perhaps The Proclaimers have lost some of the sense of giddy fun they brought to their big hit “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” but tackling mature themes may help the Reids transcend the perception of them as a novelty act.
The Proclaimers: http://www.proclaimers.co.uk/