a l b u m r e v i e w s


JAMES REYNE / DESIGN FOR LIVING
LABEL: ROADSHOW AUSTRALIA 101890-2
OVERALL: 38%
Produced by: James Reyne
  1. Wonderful Today
  2. Oh Oh Kimberley
  3. Design For Living
  4. Poetry In Motion
  5. Nothings Too Good For My Baby
  6. Reno
  7. Little Criminals
  8. I Don't Get Out Much Anymore
  9. Every Tooth A Tombstone
  10. Sleeping My Way To The Top
  11. After You've Gone
  12. Lizards From Lounges
  13. Not Waving, Drowning
  14. Stranger Than Fiction
James, James James. What is this CD about then?
The majority of the album is filled with the middle of the road sounds that we have come to expect from Reyne, especially after he ditched the more favourable AOR/pub rock for a smoother Westcoast feel on the last couple of albums.
But every few songs there appears a meaningless experimental track that make we wonder what he is trying to achieve here.
It disrupts the flow of the album, taking away from the more enjoyable tracks in between.
The middle of the road tracks are OK, fairly straight forward and no great departure for Reyne. But those odd tracks raise my eyebrows big time.
The albums starts promisingly enough with a pleasant uptempo op rocker and fine catchy chorus and smooth vocal.
Oh Oh Kimberley is a more synth/drum machine controlled affair. But there is still a degree of melody there. A moody laid back track. Design For Living is the first AWOL track. What a shit song. Tongue in cheek for sure, but shit without doubt. A bizarre hard rap chorus twisted around a verse that is pop and calypso and dance all at the same time. pointless.
Then it's Poetry In Motion - a fast tempo machine driven pop/dance number that reverts to a more standard guitar driven chorus. Still, I wonder why. Oh God, this is too much. Nothings Too Good For My Baby is total shit. A full on electronic club/techno dance number with a soft feminine vocal. Sure there is a hook in the chorus, but what AOR fan could possibly stand the thump thump thump bass beats?
Reno is thankfully a more traditional acoustic driven pop song. Finally a vocal that I recognize. An Ok mid paced pop ballad.
Same goes for the next 2 tracks. Mid paced pop rock, with pleasant enough choruses and vocals.
Back to a more machine driven track for Every Tooth A Tombstone. Some guitar but no real hooks.
Sleeping My Way To The Top is a simple blues pop song with that annoying drum machine sound again. After You've Gone is more like it. A soft and mainly acoustic AOR ballad. Nice vocal and good tune.
Lizards From Lounges is another soft ballad, but not as catchy and a little soft. Not Waving, Drowning comes out of nowhere! A modern barnstorming hard rocker, but with a little electonica feel to it. Still, it's not a bad tempo changer. Stranger Than Fiction is another soft ballad. Enough already!
Even die hards might pass this over. Terrible in places and mostly boring through the rest.
PRODUCTION: 45%SONGS: 21%VIBE: 9%ATTITUDE: 30%
ESSENTIAL FOR: The odd James Reyne and westcoast die hard.

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