In the press release for this album (their first in 16 years), Alex Lowe appeals to critics to enjoy, not analyse, the album, which was written while Lowe underwent cancer treatment. Its upbeat feel was a deliberate device to escape his unpleasant chemo and radiotherapy treatments so, if you’re in the mood of some simple retro rock picking up where Hurricane #1 left off in the last century, you should be well pleased.
The obvious standout ‘Think of the Sunshine’ is optimistic 1990s-era rock’n’roll, surprising you only at the end when former guitarist Andy Bell turns up to deliver backwards guitar that almost takes the song down a dub pathway. However, that’s the only innovation here, the other songs being Oasis-like epic pop (‘Where To Begin’) or Britpop-ish country-rock, all with the same capacity for lyrical cliché as Noel Gallagher. ‘Leave It All Behind’ (despite the echoes of Ride across the record, not the Ride song) is mainly acoustic guitar but with an epic reach, while ‘Crash’ is a cavalcade of guitars with an infectious riff. For Alex Lowe, the album is defiance in the face of mortality and, musically, it’s defiance in the face of progress, but it’s appealing for nostalgics and romantics seeking the evocation of those simple and direct 1990s pop times.