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Restless Soul

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Album Review

The Proclaimers are nothing if not consistent. Since their 1987 debut, Scotland's Reid brothers released six records that were consistently inconsistent, relying on two to three brilliant cuts per album amid a veritable sea of good-natured filler. On their second release for their own Persevere imprint, Craig and Charlie have crafted another lopsided collection of willfully earnest tunes about love, sex, God, and whiskey. Recorded in London, Restless Soul doesn't retain the snap, crackle, and pop of 2003's Born Innocent; rather, it's awash in surprisingly deep Brill Building reverb. This could have been a good thing, but the dated keyboard patches and over-reliance on mid-tempo balladry drags the whole affair into the Thames. As always, there are a few bright spots. The spirited opener, "When Love Struck You Down," with its infectious melody and biting refrain of "When love struck you down/Oh, how hard you prayed/But God didn't come to your aid" is a highlight, "I'm Gone" is as simple a drinking song as anything the Pogues ever raised a glass to, the jazzy sex romp "That's Better Now" proves that the brothers must need extra-large kilts, and the fiery closer, "One More Down," revels in the frantic, overdriven, and ballsy delivery that won the boys from Leith a devoted following in the first place. Come to think of it, that about sums up every Proclaimers record. Their utter lack of pretension always trumps the negative, and while they may be inconsistent, they're still the best Buddy Holly-kissed honky tonk/R&B/roots rock sibling duo to ever come out of the U.K.

Biography

Formed: 1986 in Leith, Scotland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When the Scottish duo of Craig and Charlie Reid emerged in 1987, they were immediately compared to the Everly Brothers. Considering their energetic, melodic folk-rock, the comparison made some sense, even though the Proclaimers didn't really sound like the Everlys. Instead, the two were a post-punk pop band, aggressively displaying their thick accents on sweet, infectiously melodic songs about love, politics, and life in Scotland. After two albums in the late '80s (This Is the Story [1987], Sunshine...
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Restless Soul, The Proclaimers
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