Given that Four Winds is his first album in a decade, one could be forgiven for wondering what Ian Broudie's been up.
At a mere 10 songs long, even the innumerate can see that works out at a song a year, and frankly, if I were lavishing such generous resources on material, I'd expect it to be rather better than the examples accumulated here. Still, you always know what you're going to get with Broudie: a sort of hapless Northern fatalism delivered with a quintessentially English air of bewildered melancholy, and set to clean-cut, uplifting pop tunes whose Beatle-ish jollity so often belies the bitter aftertaste of the lyrics. And so it proves with Four Winds, on which track titles like "Things Just Happened", "Said and Done", "The Story Goes" and "I Still Feel the Same" accurately convey the album's pervasive air of impotent regret and missed opportunities. Even Broudie's assertion, in "Don't Walk On By", that "I know there's bluer skies" lacks any real conviction, while the girl in "Things Just Happened" with "a dreamy look on her face" – drug addict? – is quickly dismissed as "just a girl in a hard luck world". The most appealing track is "Ghosts", a mild-mannered Motown tambourine stomp which also contains the album's best line: "The world it turns, and now it's turned on you".
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