When I was a wee lass (read: in the mid-80s) I remember listening to The Proclaimers and their big hits “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” and “I’m On My Way”. The two Reid brothers from Leith were quite a novelty with their twee pop songs sung in their Scottish brogue. It turns out they made albums well into the mid-90s, took an extended break and came back singing in the noughties with a renewed gusto.
Like Comedy is their 9th studio album. And if I’m honest I’ll admit that I asked for this one out of a mild curiosity and because I thought it might be a bit of a laugh. But it turns out these two are going to wind up having the last laugh because this 12-track offering is not so bad, in that it is a mixed bag of all-sorts (and by that I mean emotions and musical styles).
“Whatever You’ve Got” has that same boisterous pop and singsong flavour as their previous hits. It could certainly hold its own during the call and response choruses of old and make for some rather good concert fodder. It also is a tad reminiscent of Status Quo’s Whatever You Want” except that it has more shuffling drums and a cheeky style.
By song two we get a lullaby about the smaller things in life. It is hardly a new concept and it does lay claim to the dubious lyrics: “You and I we are such simple things/oh simple things we are”. With ingredients like these you could easily lay the boot in except that it’s all sung with such passion and conviction that you are left believing (and in some cases possibly even rooting for) them.
There are lighter moments with the mandolin-fuelled folk of “Spinning Around In The Air” while “After You’re Gone” is a big, old piano ballad. On “Dance With Me” they then croon whilst asking the listener to move and shake. These are lyrics that probably would’ve been more appropriate had they been accompanied by the straight out of leftfield guitar (read: fast) found on the song, “The Thought Of You”.
The record’s low-point is definitely the title track where overblown theatrics and all-round silliness make light of self-destruction and how – with perspective – you can write these off as comedy. For my money though it is the softer and more tender moments that remain the strongest and sweetest. But that’s not to discount the Scottish ode to drink and lassies, “Women & Wine”. Indeed these are two subjects that are close to the brothers’ hearts, with a national pass-time such as drinking coupled with a hobby like chasing kilts.
The Proclaimers’ Like Comedy is an upbeat, adult contemporary record that is full of toe-tapping pop and effervescent folk numbers practically designed to be jovial, light-hearted and feel-good. These guys don’t take themselves too seriously and play to their strengths, pedalling sugary cheerfulness with their hearts outstretched and as big as their rimmed glasses. With a rollicking exuberance, it is full of the best kinds of schmaltz; wide-eyed optimism and twee sensibilities that will make you laugh and want to call your Mum.
Originally published on 5 August 2012 at the following website: http://lifemusicmedia.com/?p=23348
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