The bespectacled Reid twins have often met with stifled titters. It’s easy to remember the slightly late ’80s cheesiness of I’m Gonna Be 500 Miles and Letter from America but, when you think about it, they were really good songs. So good in fact that Comic Relief can adopt them as their official single and it doesn’t seem to do anyone’s career any harm.
Not that they would need the likes of Peter Kay and Matt Lucas to revive interest in them. The Proclaimers never really went away. Whilst they’ve never truly followed up on their early successes south of the border, this Scots duo have had a great year, including a musical based on their work (though you’d be pleased to know this was not written by Ben Elton). They’ve also appeared on Family Guy – blimey!
By my reckoning this is their seventh album proper and their trademark sound doesn’t appear to have shifted a great deal since the days of 500 miles. The brothers have adopted an “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach and who can blame them? This album is also released under the W14 music imprint, which is run by their first producer and A&R man, so it feels a lot like a homecoming of sorts.
On the surface The Proclaimers are a powerful, toe-tapping singalong act, but lyrically there’s a lot of passion and conviction. Some of the most memorable songs on this album tackle subjects as diverse as hypocritical left-wing honour-seeking celebs, misogyny in gangsta rap and the so called war on terror. New Religion attacks those to worship false idols and S-O-R-R-Y reflects on Elton John‘s assertion that sorry seems to be the hardest word, asking why no one apologises for the Iraq situation.
But this is far from being a depressing album. The title track is a stomping and uplifting jaunt and it’s difficult not to warm to their powerful vocals on any of the songs. Blood Lying On Snow is also a great track about lust, not love, and it maintains a powerful traditional folk vibe best sung late at night over a whisky in a pub.
This might be a ride through familiar territory but The Proclaimers specialise in steadfast song writing and this is sure to satisfy their legions of fans. They’re easy to dismiss, but with an open mind this album is difficult to dislike. The Proclaimers are still walking the 500 mile walk.