Del Amitri


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1982-88)

- Justin Currie -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Iain Harvie -- lead guitar

- Brian Tolland -- guitar 

- Paul Tyagi -- drums, percussion

 

  line up 2 (1988-89)

- Justin Currie -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Iain Harvie -- lead guitar

NEW - Mick Slaven -- guitar (replaced Brian Tolland 

- Paul Tyagi -- drums, percussion

 

  line up 3 (1989)

- Justin Currie -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Iain Harvie -- lead guitar

NEW - Brian McDermott -- drums, percussion (replaced Paul Tyagi)

- Mick Slaven -- guitar (replaced Brian Tolland 

 

  line up 4 (1989-94)

NEW - Andy Alston -- keyboards

NEW - David Cummings -- guitar (replaced Mick Slaven)

- Justin Currie -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Iain Harvie -- lead guitar

- Brian McDermott -- drums, percussion (replaced Paul Tyagi)

 

  line up 5 (1994)

- Andy Alston -- keyboards

- David Cummings -- guitar (replaced Mick Slaven)

- Justin Currie -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Iain Harvie -- lead guitar

NEW - Chris Sharrock -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Brian McDermott)

 

  line up 6 (1994-95)

- Andy Alston -- keyboards

- David Cummings -- guitar (replaced Mick Slaven)

- Justin Currie -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Iain Harvie -- lead guitar

NEW - Ashley Soan -- drums, percussion (replaced Chris Sharrock)

 

  line up 7 (1995-97)

- Andy Alston -- keyboards

- Justin Currie -- vocals, bass, guitar

- Iain Harvie -- lead guitar

NEW - Jon McLoughlin -- guitar (replaced David Cummings)

- Ashley Soan -- drums, percussion (replaced Chris Sharrock)

 

  line up 8 (1997-)

- Andy Alston -- keyboards, percussion

- Justin Currie -- vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards

- Kris Dollimore -- guitar

- Iain Harvie -- lead guitar

NEW - Mark Price -- drums, percussion (replaced Ashley Soan)

 

  line up 8 (1997-)

- Andy Alston -- keyboards, percussion

- Justin Currie -- vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards

- Kris Dollimore -- guitar

- Iain Harvie -- lead guitar

NEW - Ash Soan -- drums, percussion (replaced Mark Price)

 

 

 

- All About Eve (Mark Price)

- Bonsai Forest (David Cummings)

- Justin Currie (solo efforts)

- The Damned (Kris Dollimore)

- The Godfathers (Kris Dollimore)

- The Higsons (David Cummings)

- Mice (Mark Price)

- Seeing Stars (Mark Price)

- The Uncle Devil Show (Justin Currie)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Del Amitri

Company: Chrysalis

Catalog: BFV-41499
Year:
 1985

Country/State: Glasgow, Scotland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $35.00

 

Most of us have a band, or a particular album that instantly throws us back to a certain time in our lives. The memories may be joyful, or painful ... but there's that connection to our past. In my case, Del Amitri is one of those bands, though the charms associated with their 1984 debut initially escaped me. (I'll spare everyone the details of my particular memories ...)

Having been around since 1980, by the time Del Amitri released their debut album, the line-up featured lead singer Justin Currie, guitarists  Iain Harvie and Bryan Tolland and drummer James Tyagi. Under the guidance of producer Hugh Jones, 1985's "Del Amitri" was recorded at Glasgow's Park Lane Studios over a two week period. Others have mentioned it, but anyone expecting to hear a collection of prime, radio-ready Del Amitri may be a little disappointed by this collection. While Currie handled all of the lead vocals, if you were like me, you were hard pressed to recognize him from most of these performances. In fact that whole patented Del Amitri sound that blanketed mid-'80s AOR was missing in action. And that's somewhat unfair to the band. I think that if "Del Amitri" had been my initial introduction to the band, I would have a totally different attitude to this album. With the group collectively credited with penning the material, none of the ten songs were bad. In fact tracks like 'Former Owner', 'Deceive Yourself' and 'Crows In the Wheatfield' were quite good. To my ears they sound like a young, extremely competent alt-rock band who owed a debt of gratitude to a host of other artists - Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, The Smiths ('Ceasefire') and even XTC ( check out the closer 'Breaking Bread') all readily came to mind. As I said, it took awhile for this one to grow on me and there are lots of fans who really dislike the collection (even the band seem to have walked away from this one). But as the current US President says (though everything that comes out of his mouth is of doubtful veracity - "What do you have to lose?"

 

"Del Amitri" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Heard Through a Wall (Iain Harvie - Paul Tyagi - Justin Currie - Bryan Tolland) - 3:01   rating: *** stars
For folks who grew up with the top-40 Del Amitri sound 'Heard Through a Wall' may be a somewhat jarring discovery. The opening jangle guitar is great, but I can remember thinking this might have been Fairport Convention had they grown up and decided they wanted to become a young '80s Scottish band.
2.) Hammering Heart (Iain Harvie - Paul Tyagi - Justin Currie - Bryan Tolland) - 2:58   rating: *** stars
Much rawer than what was to come, but still enjoyable. The song was released as a single British and there's even a promotional video
- 1985's 'Hammering Heart' b/w 'Lines Running North' (Chrysalis catalog number CHS-2925)

3.) Former Owner (Iain Harvie - Paul Tyagi - Justin Currie - Bryan Tolland) - 3:04   rating: **** stars
To my ears 'Former Owner' was one of the prettiest things the band ever recorded. Always liked the lyrics ...
4.) Sticks and Stones, Girl (Iain Harvie - Paul Tyagi - Justin Currie - Bryan Tolland) - 3:10   rating: *** stars
'Sticks and Stones, Girl' offered up an odd, but intriguing mix of jazzy and new wave moves. The song also boasted some nice country guitar moves. Not sure why Chrysalis tapped it as the album's second and final single:

7" format
- 'Sticks and Stones, Girl' b/w 'The King Is Poor' (Chrysalis catalog number CHS 2859)
12" format
- 'Sticks and Stones, Girl' and 'The King Is Poor' b/w 'The Difference Is' (Chrysalis catalog number CHS 12 2859)
5.) Deceive Yourself (Iain Harvie - Paul Tyagi - Justin Currie - Bryan Tolland) - 4:02   rating: **** stars
Propelled by some impressive acoustic guitar, 'Deceive Yourself' was a gorgeous acoustic ballad. It was also one of the few performances where you could recognize the vocals that would make Currie a radio star.

(side 2)
1.) I was Here (Iain Harvie - Paul Tyagi - Justin Currie - Bryan Tolland) - 2:52   rating: **** stars
Andy Partridge was here ... Great thing if you were an XTC fan. Not so good if you didn't like that band's sense of humor and thought they were merely self-absorbed rather than clever. As a big XTC fan, I quite liked this one. Awesome guitar solo on this one.
2.) Crows In the Wheatfield (Iain Harvie - Paul Tyagi - Justin Currie - Bryan Tolland) - 2:51   rating: *** stars
The two things that fascinate me about this one are the World Music tinges that show up in the melody and the sheer volume of lyrics that come flying out of Currie's mouth.
3.) Keepers (Iain Harvie - Paul Tyagi - Justin Currie - Bryan Tolland) - 4:39   rating: *** stars
Another pretty ballad with a Dylan-esque tsunami of lyrics ...
4.) Ceasefire (Iain Harvie - Paul Tyagi - Justin Currie - Bryan Tolland) - 2:59   rating: **** stars
LOL - did I put a Smiths album only mistake? Interesting to hear Currie trot out his best Morrissey impression. 'I'll admit I love the little guitar riff that powers this one.
5.) Breaking Bread (Iain Harvie - Paul Tyagi - Justin Currie - Bryan Tolland) - 3:29   rating: *** stars
Maybe it's just my old ears, but 'Breaking Bread' has always reminded me of an early XTC performance. It has that same, biting, brittle sound. It also sounded like they were trying to play two songs at the same time.

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Fatal Mistakes

Company: Cooking Vinyl

Catalog: 7 11297 52801 5
Year:
 2021

Country/State: Glasgow, Scotland

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: sealed

Available: 2

Catalog ID: --

Price: $50.00

 

Well, it only took eighteen years for Del Amitri to record a follow-on to 2002's "Can You Do Me Good?"  In the big scheme of things that's not all that long of a delay, but in the music business that's a lifetime and raises the question of whether a band can reclaim an audience after two decades; let alone make a comeback in this age without at least acknowledging popular (if not always good), tastes.  Can a band that plays their own instruments, avoids rap, vocoders, samples, and at least one "guest' collaboration actually record a decent album, let alone cultivate an audience?  Judging by 2021's "Fatal Mistakes" the answer is yes, though not many folks may be listening.

 

Having lost their recoding contract and simply tired of pursuing fame, front man Justin Currie folded Del Amitri in 2002.  Over the next two decades Currie pursued a low-keyed solo career seeing the release of four solo albums and a collection credited to The Uncle Devil Show.  He continued to write and perform, as well as working part time as a Glasgow bartender.  There were occasional Del Amitri reunion tours, but in a good piece of timing Currie and original guitarist Iain Harvie decided to reform the band and record new material in the Spring of 2019.  Rounding out the reactivated line-up were keyboardist Andy Alston, guitarist Kris Dollimore, and drummer Ash Soan.  Three weeks of recording sessions were largely completed prior to COVID-19 lockdowns.  It then took almost two years to finish mixing (done remotely) and to actually release the collection.  So the good news is working with producer Dan Austin, Del Amitri sounded like they had some scores to settle and were in fine fighting form. Currie's instantly recognizable voice remained ageless, his performances on tracks like the opener 'You Can't Go Back' and 'Musicians and Beer' easily mistaken for material that could have been  recorded as 'Roll with It' era Del Amitri.  Similarly, the rest of the band sounded tight, enthusiastic, and so old-school as to be cool again.  As chief songwriter Currie aptly displayed his gift for dark lyrics and bouncy melodies.  While there were plenty of radio-friendly jangle-rockers including the single 'You Can't Go Back', they were rounded out by patented emotionally draining power ballads like 'All Hail Blind Love' and 'Second Staircase.'  Elsewhere the acoustic ballad 'Lonely' introduced an CSN&Y vibe to the proceedings.  Currie's material had always included a dark streak, but this time around he focused his anger and frustration on bigger targets.  The almost hymnal 'Close Your Eyes and Think of England' should have sent politicians running for their safety rooms, while the scathing 'Nation of Caners' seemingly took a bitter look at commercialism and consumption.

 

Biggest compliment I can give the album is to tell you it's been on my turntable for the last two weeks.  

 

Hey, anyone know anything about the odd album cover?  Must be a story behind this odd collection of items ...

 

"Fatal Mistakes" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) You Can't Go Back   (Justin Currie) -
 2:54  rating: **** stars

The album started out with a classic slice of Del Amitri jangle-rock, made even better by the fact Currie and company were clearly poking fun at themselves and their long delayed comeback.  Currie sounded in fine form and the rest of the band were equally impressive.  Instant flashback to prime-era Del Amitri (unless you weren't buying music in the mid-'80s).  The accompanying video was simply hysterical:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCGigqiAEXU 

2.) All Hail Blind Love   (Justin Currie Iain Harvie) - 4:04   rating: **** stars

Initially the bitter ballad 'All Hail Blind Love' struck me as an also-ran effort.  And then one day while hiking the refrain popped into my head and I simply couldn't shake it.  The tune was a perfect example of Currie's seemingly effortless ability to toss off criminally catchy melodies, coupled with unexpectedly dark lyrics.  Recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown, YouTube has a remote, live version of the tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6WbJVf06ks&list=RDp6WbJVf06ks&start_radio=1 

3.) Musicians and Beer  (Justin Currie) - 2:47   rating: *** stars

'Musicians and Beer' was a great title for a rock and roll song, but the vicious lyrics and a couple of choice words guaranteed radio wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.  

4.) Close Your Eyes and Think of England  (Justin Currie) - 3:31    rating: **** stars

I barely understand American politics and cultural affairs, so trying to figure out the meaning of  'Close Your Eyes and Think of England' wasn't a task likely to bring much success.  If I had to guess, I'd say the song was a brutal takedown of British politics and perhaps a commentary on Brexit, but who knows?   Didn't Scotland want to remain in the EU?   And perhaps I wasn't too far off the mark.  Poking around the Del Amitri website I found the song described as "the state-of-the-nation lament" and "our European valediction, a ballad of pure bile and remorse, sweetened by a sledgehammer of sarcasm."  Definitely a pretty tune with sad, haunting and disturbing lyrics.  I can easily picture pubs full of drunk folks singing along with the tune, perhaps not realizing Currie really didn't intend it to be a patriotic anthem.  Hey, does that make it a Scottish version of Bruce Springsteen's 'Born In the USA'?    Here's a link to the promotional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRhTFlfwbgM 

5.) Losing the Will To Die  (Justin Currie) - 2:35    rating: **** stars

Even when just going through the motions Currie and company manage to turn in melodies that most band's can only fantasize over.  Hearing 'Losing the Will To Die' it's easy to forget Currie's voice was incredibly versatile.  A rollicking blue-eyed soul tune that was highly commercial.  Speculation on my part, but I remember reading an interview with Currie where he mentioned he never expected to make it to 50 and found himself unexpectedly jubilant when he made that milestone and so many of his friends and acquaintances had not.    

6.) Otherwise  (Justin Currie) - 3:02    rating: **** stars

Pretty ballad showcasing some glistening harmony vocals.  Currie does heartbreak better than virtually anyone in music.  

7.) It's Feeling  (Justin Currie) - 2:54     rating: **** stars

Another slice of classic Del Amitri, 'It's Feeling' had it all - great melody, wonderful Currie vocals, shimmering harmonies.  I was humming the refrain for weeks.  Now if someone could explain the thematically dark promotional video to me ...   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDQzHNOV4Ok 

 

(side 2)

1.) I'm So Scared of Dying  (Justin Currie) - 4:27    rating: **** stars

A dark ballad with some wonderful harmonies, drawing a link to COVID-19 might be too obvious, but in an interview I read Currie discussed succumbing to COVID fear that saw him spending much of the pandemic isolating in his home.  He also lost his father to the disease.  

2.) Mockingbird, Copy Me Now   (Justin Currie - Kris Dollimore) - 2:24   rating: *** stars

I'm not a big folk fan so 'Mockingbird, Copy Me Now' left me cold.  I'll admit I didn't have a clue what the song was about, but in a lengthy interview with Tom Lanham in Illinois Entertainer, Currie described the song as "being about a brow-beaten husband whose spouse constantly mimics him to take the piss out of him, so he eventually decides that he's gonna kill himself because he thinks she'll copy him doing that, and then he'll get his revenge on her." 

3.) Missing Person  (Justin Currie) - 3:20  rating: *** stars

Country and folk influences in songs don't usually don't do much for me, but on the bouncy 'Missing Person' they were acceptable.  Always laugh at the lyric "Alone with my one obsession, me, me, me ...."  I can see myself drinking a couple of beers to this one.

4.) Second Staircase  (Justin Currie) - 3:01  rating: *** stars

Built on a song title he'd written years earlier, 'Second Staircase' has some interesting lyrics and was one of the prettiest ballads the band has ever recorded.  Once again Currie took heartbreak to a new level.

5.) Lonely (Justin Currie - Iain Harvie) - 3:28   rating: **** stars 

Unlike anything they'd previously recorded, the stark, acoustic ballad 'Lonely' spotlighted the band's wonderful harmonies accompanied by some tasty acoustic guitar.  There was kind of a CSN&Y vibe going on here.  You can just imagine hardcore romantics swooning to this one. 

6.) Nation of Caners  (Justin Currie) - 7:39    rating: **** stars

The lyrics for 'Nation of Caners' constituted another diatribe largely lost on my American ears.  Built on a rollicking melody that built in intensity, the tune featured a tidal wave of lyrics - You had to wonder how Currie would ever remember the lyrics in a live performance.  Perhaps a jab at modern commercialism  and our collective insatiable demand for "stuff" Currie seemed to be taking aim at a wide spectrum of humanity, including social media, science deniers, climate change deniers, etc.  The track just built up layers of scorn, criticism, and anger ...  Great way to end the album.

 

 

 

 

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