11 September 2020 (released)
19 September 2020
You'd imagine that British soul stalwart Roachford feels much the same way about his 1988 breakthrough hit 'Cuddly Toy' as Swedish rockers Europe might about their 'The Final Countdown'; both classic songs to be proud of, for sure, but ones that - to the casual listener - have arguably defined their creators to the extent of overshadowing their subsequent efforts and achievements.
Make no mistake, Andrew Roachford has not spent the last three decades resting on his laurels. He's released several albums (both solo and as part of his eponymous band), joined British rock supergroup Mike & The Mechanics, and last year was awarded an MBE for services to music. Hats off!
'Twice In A Lifetime' is his first solo effort in seven years, and my goodness, it's been worth the wait. Opener 'High On Love' sees that wonderful voice on fine form, and lead single 'Love Remedy' is utterly sublime - all choppy funk guitar, Motown horns and the kind of anthemic chorus so addictive it should be illegal.
Much of the record comes across as a love letter to classic soul, and surely Messrs Gaye and Green would nod approvingly at the soaring harmonies of 'Give It Up And Let Go' and 'What We Had'; the latter a duet with Brit soul queen Beverley Knight. Roachford's clearly taken his time over this one, and the result is that you'd be forgiven for mistaking 'Twice In A Lifetime' for a greatest-hits compilation, such is the sheer number of tunes that burrow straight into the subconscious. Trust us, you won't mind.
For the most part, it's an uplifting record, but even on its more sombre moments - most notably 'The Truth Hurts Too Much' and 'Written In My Heart' - Roachford still shines. Backed by little more than piano and organ, and delivering some memorable lyrical couplets ("Even a perfect day sees the sun go down/And even the brightest flame is gonna still burn out"), this stripped-back approach creates an almost tangible sense of intimacy.
If 'Twice In A Lifetime' can't convince people that the Roachford of today is at least as compelling as the Roachford of the late 80s, it's hard to see what more the man could do. In any case, he's justified that MBE, and then some.