Justin Currie – Lower Reaches

lowerJustin Currie isn’t a name you’ll often hear roll off the lips of a new music blogger. The Glaswegian has been doing the rounds since the release of his debut album in 1985 with his then band Del Amitri; an act with such a convoluted history than even Wikipedia resorts to a diagram to chart the appearance and disappearance of various members. While Currie was arguably unsuccessful at team work, he did rack up an impressive score on the UK Billboard. Over the course of three decades, he and Del Amitri would experience the highs and lows of a stadium studded career. They even recorded the official anthem of the Scottish World Cup.

This previous success is relevant now only because Currie lacks the stature he once had. It must be pretty annoying to continue to write songs of the same reliable calibre, yet fail to hit the mark in terms of sales and popularity. That’s not to say he’s unpopular. New album Lower Reaches is anticipated by many, but they’re fans who have always followed Currie’s music. There’s no fresh meat boarding this boat.

The key question and one Currie’s team must frequently ask themselves is why. The songs on his third solo album – following What is Love For in 2007 and The Great War in 2010 – are reasonable stabs at radio airplay. They’re not groundbreaking, that’s for sure, and fans of These New Puritans can continue to smirk safe in the knowledge that the music is not for them. However anyone tipping their hat in the direction of artists in and between Laura Marling and The Feeling shouldn’t turn their back on Currie. He’s a decent wordsmith; and his vocal prevails as one of the best coming out Scotland. Not to mention, he’s a lot more credible than the vast majority of his long suffering peers.

The answer, and one that resounds throughout Lower Reaches, is that Currie hasn’t progressed away from the music he was making all of those years ago. With age he hasn’t become an interesting icon, propping up with bar with a Fender and a keg of whisky. There’s no murky tales of rehab and rebirth lurking in his shadow to lure in the 20-something. He’s still Justin Carrie, singing to the rooftops about relationships gone awry. There’s little else than can be said for Lower Reaches. And so his fans continue to love him because he continues to fit their bill, and others continue to avoid him because he never has. It’s the sad, though at least consistent state of play.

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One Response to “Justin Currie – Lower Reaches”

  1. mcat 18/08/2013 at 2:23 pm #

    on the other hand, his website is pretty interesting: justincurrie.com

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