Edwyn Collins – Hope and Despair

ARTIST: Edwyn Collins                     220px-hope_and_despair

TITLE:  Hope and Despair

YEAR RELEASED: 1989

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: 50 Shades of Blue, Coffee Table Song

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: This was obscure and not even released in the US, I believe.

LINEUP: Edwyn Collins, Dennis Bovell, David Ruffy, Bernard Clarke, Roddy Frame, Steven Skinner

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Ex-Orange Juice singer’s debut solo album showcases his interesting baritone amidst some interestingly produced downcast pop songs.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Even though Collins isn’t the most optimistic of souls, this debut solo album (that took a while to land somewhere that would release his work) hits all of the right notes that fans of the loved but little known (in the US) Orange Juice wanted.

He’s got a good group behind him with producer Dennis Bovell and Azetc Camera’s Roddy Frame taking their place behind him. He actually sounds happy in a few places.

This doesn’t sound at all like a late 80’s release. It’s got some nice bass work (thanks to Bovell and his work as a reggae producer) and the arrangements are more in the classic pop mode than aiming for the flavor of the month. A good effort for Collins to start with.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: After two singles, a folding record company and a fallout with Creation, it took three years to get this album out. Then, a followup stiffed (and isn’t streaming).

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B+:  Some of the downbeat songs may be a bit too much for casual fans, but it’s a darn nice pop record, if somewhat sad.

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