It’s a confusing world, isn’t it? You’re bombarded by all manner of stimuli, flashing lights and challenging smells. Even buying a sandwich is difficult. Have you been to Subway recently? So many questions and decisions to make, it’ll make your head spin. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a moment or two to appreciate something simple and wholesome and that won’t give you a nosebleed or make your teeth hurt?
Enter Paul McClure and the Local Heroes.
Five songs. That’s all you get. Simple and heartfelt and charming. No edge or artifice. Just five great songs played and sung really well. Nobody triggered sick beats from the comfort of their laptops or did clever stuff with loop pedals or glitchy software or any similar shenanigans. Some people went into a room and over the course of two days they recorded five great pieces of music. Imagine that – what a radical approach to music recording that is, eh?
McClure has old fashioned taste in music, it seems. There are elements of Martin Stephenson, Van Morrison and “Fisherman’s Blues” era Waterboys here. Occasionally there’s even a hint of Ryan Adams in his vocal style. He strums his acoustic guitar in the good ol’ storytelling tradition, ably backed by a very supple backing band who provide an understated but solid backdrop for him. “Million Dollar Smile” – all wheezy harmonica and Deacon Blue harmonies – sets the pace and we stay there for the next twenty-ish minutes. Why this isn’t on heavy rotation on Radio Two right now mystifies me. “I just want to play the best version of the simplest song I can find in my heart” sings McClure on “Baby, That’s You” – If there’s a message on this record, that’s it. The song is an up tempo romp that’ll cause listeners of a certain age to shake a leg in a most undignified way. “The Good And The Bad Of It” is an elegant gospel blues. Hard to pull off, but Mr McClure does it with style. “Troubadour’s Lament” manages to show more promise than its dour title would suggest, staying just the right side of cheesy and building to a singalong chorus. Not a dry eye in the house when they play this live, I’ll bet…
Music doesn’t have to be about playing a bazillion notes really quickly or “catching the zeitgeist” or being so hip that it hurts. Sometimes it’s about simple songs, well played. Treat yourself. Mogwai, Neu and Swans can wait until tomorrow. Indulge yourself in the guilty pleasure of Paul McClure and the Local Heroes.
1. Million Dollar Smile
2. Baby That’s You
3. The Good And The Bad Of It
4. Weight In Time
5. Troubadour’s Lament