STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 178148-29178 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album
Reviewed by Lins Honeyman
For his fifth album, Glasgow-based singer/songwriter Michael McMillan has once again teamed up Scottish producer and multi-instrumentalist Samuel Gallagher following a brief rekindled dalliance with Graeme Duffin's Foundry Music Lab. In keeping with previous releases, this is a laid back affair with McMillan's gentle vocals nestling nicely on top of Gallagher's straightforward backing of acoustic guitars, bass, light percussion and some unobtrusive guitar licks - all to good effect. A concept album of sorts, McMillan hones in on the stories of people he's met who have been running away from problems and, thanks to a sensitive ear for a good story, the man's Christ-like compassion and his own chequered past, these struggles are communicated with sympathy and poignancy. For example, the story of a war veteran's return is told in "Coming Home" whilst an encounter with a lonely stranger on a Greyhound bus is communicated in heartbreaking fashion on "A Better Place". With every McMillan album, one track usually stands out and that particular honour this time around rests with the America-like "Wait For Me" which deals with the prospect of being left alone after the loss of a loved one with sensitivity and beauty. Elsewhere, the upbeat country toe-tapper "Tick The Box" adds some needed pace to proceedings whilst offering up a sage comment on today's fickle culture and the line "I'm just a surplus clown in a circus town" in the introspective "No Place To Go" showcases McMillan's standing as a thoughtful lyricist who can say a lot with very little.
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