Life Is Fine
Cooking Vinyl America
Australian singer songwriter Paul Kelly’s recent career has been refreshingly varied: an acoustic record putting Shakespeare’s sonnets to music and a collaboration with Charlie Owen on Death’s Dateless Night are two of his recent projects. So it’s interesting to see Kelly return to his roots on Life Is Fine with a record full of sonic diversity and plenty of musical twists and turns throughout its 12 tracks.
A case in point is the groovy and atmospheric “Rock Out on the Sea”, full of melody, bombast and verve, which contrasts sharply with the beautifully gentle “Letter In The Rain” and the bouncy, joyful “Josephina”. The bluesy ‘My Man’s Got a Cold” features guest vocalist Vika Bull, while the upbeat rock of “Firewood and Candles” and “Finally Something Good” provide some classic Kelly melodies and are destined to be live classics.
It’s easy to compare Life Is Fine with Kelly’s earlier offerings from his time with The Messengers – especially on raucous opener “Rising Moon” and the reworking of “Don’t Explain”. The acoustic title track brings proceedings to a thoughtful, brilliant end, a brilliant example of Kelly’s distinctive brand of lyrically rich and melodically satisfying songwriting.
Through a career spanning 25 years, Kelly has barely put a foot wrong; Life Is Fine continues that tradition and shows an artist at the top of game and entirely comfortable in his own skin. Life is fine, indeed.