Paul Kelly: Life Is Fine
The Legendary Australian singer songwriter returns with a full blown pop album after several off the beaten track projects. Louder Than War’s Craig Chaligne reviews.
After experimenting with with a soul revue (“The Merri Soul Sessions”), setting Shakespeare’s words to music (“Seven Sonnets and a Song”) and collaborating with Charlie Owen on an album devoted to songs for funerals (“Death’s Dateless Night”), Paul Kelly felt it was time to deliver an album of classic pop songs and with “Life Is Fine”, he sticks to his manifesto. The songs are concise with the longest clocking just over the four minutes mark and Kelly’s long term team of musicians provide an excellent setting for the songs to blossom. “Rising Moon” is the perfect opener with its powerful choruses and a rather splendid middle eight with a great solo courtesy of guitarist Ashley Naylor that closes off the song in style. Kelly delivers two great pop songs with “Finally Something Good” and “Firewood and Candles” where the listener can gorge himself on hooks (special mention for the the Farfisa part on the later song).
Kelly has often stated that he liked hearing his songs sung by other singers and he makes no exception to the rule on “Life Is Fine” where backing singers Vika and Linda Bull both take the lead on one song (Vika on the ode to man flu “My Man’s Got a Cold” and Linda on the George Harrison-esque “Don’t Explain”). “Letter in the Rain” is a great track that Tom Petty would have killed to write while the jaunty “Josephina” shows Kelly’s love for sixties pop (and the Kinks in particular). The pedal steel on “Petrichor” accentuates the songs melancholy and the title track closes off the album on an intimate note.
Paul is currently touring the UK and will be playing at London’s O2 Empire on Saturday the 9th of September.