In musical terms, we should be saying this is the album of the year. Every time we play it, the quality of the songwriting and the playing, and Pat Kane’s soulful voice, bowl us over with their greatness. Sadly, we’re trivial, superficial, and prefer the latest band with a hot new riff.
Hue and Cry were famous (ish) when the most geriatric member of the Review Corner was nobbut a lad. Still, while it does go a bit Radio Two in places it is fine, adult pop.
Hue and Cry had a couple of big hits — Labour of Love and Looking for Linda — in the late 80s. Until now we thought they were pop songs but the former was a “coded anti-Thatcherite anthem” and the latter about domestic violence.
They never really cracked the big time but they probably don’t overly care: Pat Kane was rector of the University of Glasgow and was one of the founding editors of the Sunday Herald newspaper. His brother Greg is a classically trained pianist, saxophonist, audio engineer and producer (and married to Tippi Hedron, whose debut single was the possibly first Review Corner review, in 2002).
What would be side one on vinyl is excellent: Opener It Happened Here is an atmospheric pop tune, while The Way She Flies will tug the heart-strings of all parents whose daughters have just left for uni, with its great chorus (musically and lyrically): “Even if I hold her in a father’s hand … mentally I have to open up my palms / And see her by the way she flies / It’s just the way it is.” (He later duets with his daughter on Let Her Go).
Beautiful Construct is, well, beautiful constructed, a slower tune with a waltz beat. When We’re Not Strong has a jazz feel. Pocketful Of Stones (ie stones are tens of millions of years in the making but unremarked upon) is ok but sees the first sign of Radio Two, though Nobody Died is good, even if does sound like a lost Paul Weller song.
The second half of the album is a little more routine; Greg Kane’s luscious classical arrangements add to the vocals in the good tracks and slightly dominant in the less good, and make them a little bland.