While the completion of 2007’s Home Again was, in many ways, part of Collins’ therapy after suffering two brain haemorrhages (recorded before his illness and mixed later while on the road to recovery), this album represents his first new material since his brush with death. It’s unavoidable, therefore, to pick over the songs for autobiographical clues.
Certainly, tracks such as What Is My Role? and It Dawns On Me find Edwyn taking stock and counting his blessings. The latter, co-written with The Magic Numbers’ Romeo Stodart, is particularly affecting, chronicling a “reckless youth” and emerging from a “world of darkness” with all the self-effacing wit Collins has been able to call upon since the very early days of Orange Juice. This is no sober or sombre contemplation of events; Collins has rarely sounded so energised or full of fun.
The Northern soul bounce of the title track marks out the territory from the start, typical of the upbeat melodies and lyrical positivity throughout; Do It Again is a glorious cocktail of bygone beat group sounds and the more angular art-rock shapes thrown by its Franz Ferdinand co-writers. It might have been tempting, in light of Edwyn’s recent setbacks, to give him a (critically) easy ride, but any such concessions are ultimately unnecessary, and probably a little insulting. Collins has returned to the spotlight with creative faculties intact and all guns blazing. Business as usual, we’re pleased to report.