His first set of all-new material in 13 years finds Paddy McAloon working alone for the first time, writing and playing everything himself. Which may account for the slightly solipsistic tone, with many songs being about songwriters and, in "Devil Came a Calling", the Faustian pact of success which may have singed his sensibilities. "The Best Jewel Thief in the World" and "The Old Magician" portray composition as a stealthy process, while "The Songs of Danny Galway" and "Mysterious" offer loquacious homage to Jimmy Webb and Bob Dylan. But underpinning McAloon's exacting lyrics is music which suffers from similar deliberation and a pastel palette: even when scuttling nimbly, it's tasteful but a touch bloodless.
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