Album Reviews: June 2008


Neil Diamond - Home Before Dark (Columbia) 12/05/2008

It's just me I'm afraid, my partner in sounds could not bring himself to talk fairly about this one, so it was decided that I should give it a go and more than open minded, unsurprisingly I found myself enjoying this latest release from the 67 year old son of Brooklyn. I've been listening to 'Saturday Live' on Radio 4 lately, which features a strain that looks at listeners' "Inheritance tracks". Speaks for itself really, but it has got me thinking that with release of this album, it's some of his work that I would have to put down as those among my own inheritance tracks, having grown up with those sounds ringing throughout the house. So with this in mind I was able to immerse myself in the media coverage from this event, hearing the album and watching the recent live performance Neil gave for a select audience at the BBC Radio Theatre in May and viewed if not first hand, the love he holds within his fans.

First and foremost, Neil is a songwriter and it is the quality of this that can be heard within these numbers. But of course it's not hard not to feel the tone of a man which might be likened to a strong cappuccino, something which I'm sure plays its part on an audience, whether it be in person or when hearing a recording. So from a career that has spanned almost half a century, these latest 12 songs are of a quality you might expect, from a master of composition - welcome melodies, that whether played for mood, or simply to rouse the spirit, volume is the key for this engine. It might come as no surprise then that Rick Rubin the chameleon of production was employed to work on this album. A producer who was no stranger to Neil's work, having worked with him previously on his last album, '12 Songs', but also a producer who's no stranger to bands as diverse as The Cult, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash, Dixie Chicks and KRS-One to Slayer and Metallica's ninth album. In short an album that worked on many different levels, from songwriting to numbers that I could read like a book, heartfelt songs and rich country tinged guitar that filled the space around me. 8/10

Nick James

T: It's a bloody good job I wasn't here to review this album.

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