Paul McLinden: Head Happy – album reviewPaul McLinden – Head Happy (OneInchPunch Records)


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Glaswegian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Paul McLinden, releases his new album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.

Artists you might think of whilst listening to Head Happy – Velvet Underground, John Lee Hooker, Babybird, Oasis

How lovely to hear another of those in the dying breed of perfect pop writers. Paul McLinden plays every instrument on ten tracks which are not only melodious and catchy, but also damn fine tunes.

Not a name you may be familiar with although he’s regularly appeared on CSI New York and the movie soundtracks to Gangster Squad and Return To Zero, he’s classically trained, and after studying with the Scottish National Orchestra he’s clearly picked up useful experiences to accompany the already brimming natural talent.

The title track and recent single launches the album without the chance to get comfortable in your seat. Head Happy is a cracking, hypnotic song – exactly how all album openers should be and well worthy of a play on any radio station.

The single’s flip side, Cheer Up, is also here. A rockier affair and completely different sounding as are many of the efforts on the album. Whether The Weather has echoes of Stephen Jones (Babybird) and his underrated knack of writing some of the finest songs never to grace the airwaves, whilst Green-Eyed Monster displays Paul’s aptitude at writing slower paced songs too.

Paper Town incorporates Indian influences with its sitar-tinged guitar sound,  adding mystique as the album closes.

At less than 27 minutes, Head Happy is an album of quality over quantity, and McLinden’s songwriting prowess means that he already has another fifteen tracks demoed for his 2015 album. With a host of presenters from Mary Anne Hobbs to Don Letts and Lauren Laverne keen to play his music, it’s only a matter of time before the UK is soon aware of his talents.

The Paul McLinden website is here. You can follow him on Twitter here and Facebook and listen to more on Soundcloud here.

All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.

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Born and bred in Lancashire, currently residing in the Rossendale Valley. Everything deserves one listen, but, not necessarily a second. Only (ex-Community) DJ to ever play Nat ‘King’Cole followed by Nine Inch Nails, and, eat Fish and Chips live on air.


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