UB40 ‘Getting Over The Storm’ – Album Review

I’m not a UB40 connoisseur by any means, but I think they’re underrated in terms of being a national institution. Or maybe they’re not, you tell me. However if you’ve never heard ‘The Earth Dies Screaming’ and the beautiful b side ‘Dream A Lie’, you’ve seriously missed out on a piece of deep hitting art that’ll grab you and make you feel awash with sadness and immensely contented all at once on one piece of vinyl. In fact, I’ll play one of those on the next Gigslutz radio show 25th July.

Anyway I crept out of work armed with a cheese and ham baguette and took myself to the park to give their new album – sans Ali Campbell – ‘Getting Over The Storm’ a run out.

First track ‘The Midnight Rider’ rolled in and it was surreal hearing the band without Campbell’s distinct twang, but with his brother Duncan taking the reigns there was an eerie synergy. It worked. Honey coated vocals. Less desperation.

The album continues through ‘Just What’s Killing Me’ which is slightly cliched but a sing along nonetheless and reaches title track 3, ‘Getting Over The Storm’, which is an uplifting country tinged tune that instantly reminds you of ‘Stand By Your Man’.

At this point I had conceded that this album was going to be a love driven album, ballady but unashamedly so. Maybe it was my surroundings, laying under a beautiful tree canopy, sun beams reaching down to me and then as ‘Blue Billet Doux’ kicks in and sharpens the pace a little I was transported to a West Indian BBQ with fine rum punch and the Lord’s herb. This track was my stand out by far to this point. A Dylan Thomas-esque ode to a bundle of love manifested in letters.

By the time ‘If You Ever Have Forever’ had finished I was perusing whether or not Calor Gas should be giving an album away with every BBQ canister purchased, this was serious synergy!

It still felt that the band were in 3rd gear but purposefully so. In a world where artists fail by trying to shock, the artistry of a solid melody and a tale is never lost on me.

‘Crying Time’ slows the pace down again but ‘How Will I Get Through This’ is ridiculously catchy again! They’re making this look so easy! The verse is catchy, the chorus infectious. So much so that they drop everything out and Campbell states each word as if he knows there’s nothing you can do about it.

‘He’ll Have To Go’ is a real fun ode to the other man in a relationship but with some great lines, empathy heavy. Fat tablas pulling on your heart strings. ‘Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain’ immediately reminds me of ‘Ring The Alarm’ which is one of my favourite old dance hall bangers by Tenor Saw. Time for the Lord’s herb here!

‘I Did What I Did’ has a great trumpet change reminiscent of ‘Buffalo Soldier’ but it’s swatted aside by 11’s conflict of morals, the extremely clever and well written ‘On The Other Hand’. “On the other hand, there’s a golden band, to remind me of someone who wouldn’t understand”.  It rolls you brilliantly one way and then the other and forces you to straddle the conundrum.

I didn’t want this journey to end but it headed towards the bell with a very country laden dig at current austerity and a simple but to the point cry out for the common man with ‘How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times & Live?’.

The album ends with ‘I Didn’t Know’, a final ode to loneliness, as if to exemplify what the aim of the album was all about from the off. A beautiful finish with strings too.

Great production and even better construction.

‘Getting Over The Storm’ won’t be to everyone’s taste – what is? – but on first listen alone I fell in love with it and I can imagine it’s a serious grower as well. If you’re a believer in melodies, stories, lyrical journeys- some simple some not so – and albums that put a smile on the face of you n yours, then go buy it, quick,while the sun’s still shining.

Guerre Mortale!

The Hunter