24 June 2021 (released)
10 November 2021
In many respects, this album is a throwback to the ‘Producer as star’ albums of the late seventies and eighties where a respected producer would turn artist by writing their own material and bringing in many of the stars that they had been working with to create an album.
Sometimes they are ego-driven disasters but sometimes, as in this case, they are bloody good albums.
John Williams has been around for a loong time, and he has either signed or produced (or both) a massive roster of talent – names like The Housemartins, The Proclaimers, Robert Plant, Simple Minds, Debbie Harry, Blancmange and Beth Nielsen Chapman – and been involved in the business generally for many years.
Ten tracks with very different identities but every one worth a listen and a few, such as the sublime ‘New Flag’ featuring Petula Clark (!) in line for single of the year.
Personal favourite track is ‘Luminescent’, a gorgeous, shimmering piece of modern pop with a constant piano theme creating a twinkling backdrop to the song and an insistent electro drum beat nagging the number along.
Williams melodies are sumptuous, and his years of experience allow him to create some very complex arrangements but still make them accessible to any listener.
The musicians here are all top drawer – one of the advantages of working as a producer is access to a wide range of session and band musicians – and that allows him to create music in a number of different genres without overstretching the capabilities of the band.