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The Beautifil Moment review

Andrew Roachford – The Beautiful Moment

Beautiful moments with a Mechanic

Getting Andrew Roachford to join in his revival of Mike + The Mechanics has certainly been one of Mike Rutherford’s better ideas. Not only is Roachford a big entertainer on the stage, he also has a wonderful voice. Before he joined the Mechanics his career had lost some of its momentum. His more recent albums like Word Of Mouth, were not quite as successful as previous records, and they lacked the big ideas with which he could reach larger audiences.

He proved his songwriting abilities again on The Road. Try To Save Me has a very fluent structure, I Don’t Do Love contains one of those fantastic Roachford melodies that probably can only be done with his voice – and he was also involved with a more complex song, Walking On Water.

At that time Roachford was working on a mini solo album. He returned, as it were, with Where I Stand. The single Wishing You Knew turned heads. A full album called Addictive followed later that same year and showcased a relaxed, fresh Roachford. He also used the Mechanics break for a series of solo shows in Europe.

The Beautiful Moment coverAndrew Roachford kept the impetus and recorded his new album, The Beautiful Moment. This review will obviously look at it through the Mechanics spectacles (at least with one eye), but that is an obvious bias for a Genesis website. All the songs on the new album were penned by Andrew and his brother Stephen Roachford. Exceptions are All Roads Lead Back and Ebony. Roachford wrote these with Helena C Carter which, by his own admission, adds a new influence to his music.

The opener is a typical Roachford song. Real Again sets the course for the album. Unobtrusive, but direct vocals tinged with a melancholy that is overcome again and again. Something Beautiful breaks new ground for Roachford. Strings complete a fine song that could as well have become a Mechanics song. Overcome takes a long time to find that hookline. The song is not really spectacular, but fits in well with the overall mood of the album. It is towards the end that it becomes interesting. Many of the songs are quite similar as far as the instruments and structures are concerned; Love Wins is one of those.

People who like songs by Elton John & co. might enjoy Because You. At the core of this song there are intense vocals almost spoken rather than sung alongside piano. The first verse comes along very minimalistic, later acoustic guitars, percussion, bass and drums come in. The song ends just as it began. Minimalistic.

Without You has louder moments; the verses feature a slide guitar Roachford likes to use on the album, sometime more in the fore, sometimes more in the background. Wouldn’t Change A Thing is the closest thing to an uptempo song on the album. Ebony’s beginning is a bit different from the other song, as the first notes are played on a guitar. Roachford wrote this song with Helena C Carter, but she does not sing on it. Ebony ends with a peculiar and unfortunate fade-out.

Roachford 2013The crackling sounds of a vinyl record are an important element in Slow Water, and Roachford wanted it to sound ‘old’, too, which is a bit difficult with a voice as clear as his. The song evolves into a rhythmic happy song. All Roads Lead Back has a certain Mechanics flair. It stays too much under cover, though, and perhaps sounds a bit too much like many other songs on the album. As She Walks is a fine ending for Roachford’s new album. His vocals are the central part of it, and it stands out more than on most of the other songs on the album.

The album is produced quite consistently with very natural sounds, lots of acoustic guitar bits, percussion and the slide guitar mentioned before. The occasional use of violins and cello adds an interesting dimension. The production of the songs is, to this reviewer’s mind, too similar to offer much variety – still it is an enjoyable album to listen to and there is not one bad song on the album. It has been produced by Tom E Morrison. The Beautiful Moment sounds far less technical than its predecessor, Addictive. It is a very open album with the occasional fine mood. What is missing is the odd catchy uptempo song. It is a spontaneous album, not always thoughtful, not always melancholy, but always natural. A beautiful moment in the life of a part-time Mechanic.

by Christian Gerhardts, English by Martin Klinkhardt

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