Michael Head and the Red Elastic Band – Dear Scott review

If there was only one musician you could give complete license to for feeling bitter about where luck has taken their career, it would be Mick Head, formerly of The Pale Fountains and then Shack, the latter a band who spent their entire career somehow snatching defeat from the jaws of glorious victory.

And yet rather than spend his days apportioning blame, the Liverpudlian has continued to be remarkably sanguine about the past, even summing the latest chain of events up on Kismet, the opening track of Dear Scott, an album that he believes – rightly – is his finest in more than 20 years.

In this world, leaving things to fate meant being signed to Dave Pichilingi’s Modern Sky label – joining Jamie Webster – and working alongside producer Bill Ryder-Jones. It’s this sense of dice-rolling fulfillment and happiness that runs through songs which point the way forward for a veteran who in turn sounds reinvigorated with every note.

The titular reference is to F.Scott Fitzgerald and Hollywood’s Golden Age, but unsurprisingly Head returns frequently to his home city as a canvas, particularly on the bus ride of The Ten but also via American Kid’s wonderful love story with a difference. Elsewhere from the blissful jazzy motifs of Gino And Rico to Freedom’s Nick Drake-inspired picking, Dear Scott radiates the aura of a man at peace with what is now, whatever’s been before and what might come next. You have to be very lucky to be this good.

You can read a full review here.

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