Angel Air 2016
From the parochial to pan-continental, English gents reflect on their world and rock into the future.
“Led by former MP for Lewes, UK” could be a nice selling point for Norman Baker’s band if the ensemble weren’t as good as they are, yet the artist’s political career may be a key to understanding his outlook and attention to detail – and the group’s name, too. Striving for a change would also explain the optimism of their 2013 debut “Always Tomorrow” and this, its companion piece, although the vaudeville anger at wolves in sheep’s clothing that’s packed into “Give War A Chance” breaks the small-town mold. Elsewhere, though, affairs of the heart take over foreign affairs, and little tragedies such as ones behind the whimsical “The Man Next Door” or the “One Way Love” blues are the order of the day.
In this context, acoustically driven numbers of a singer-songwriter disposition – like “Point Me To The Truth” – make a lot of sense. Not for nothing the punk defiance of opener “Daffodil Cottage” with its naked guitar riff gets diluted in the song’s soft chorus and psyched-up passages, and “Shopping” is mocking consumerism in the kindest way possible – as a means for a meaningful social life. So while the twang in “Time Hangs” sounds ominous, its refrain is a harbor of hope, and “Teapot Lane” hitches a catchy approach to criticism of today’s Blighty. But then, there’s luminous wisdom in the title track, a refusal to cast a glance back, just because it won’t help us move on. One way love might be a step forward, really.