ALBUM REVIEW: Huey Lewis and the News “Soulsville”

Record Label: Proper Records
Release Date: 18.10.2010

Huey Lewis and the News is most definitely a band which seems to have passed whole cohorts of people by. Despite moderate success in the 80’s and 90’s, and even an Academy Award nomination this band has never been able to bridge the gap between ‘popular’ and ‘popular and cool’ and I’m not entirely sure this latest offering is going to do that now.

Soulsville is their first major work in nigh on a decade. It seems to pick up precisely where they left off in the early nineties, reviving a rock-blues feel which was becoming a much bigger part of their sound than it had been in their early days. I found that after a few listens to the album I could relax more with it, and wasn’t trying to understand what direction the band were coming from, or where they were going to. But I was wondering if there wasn’t anything left of their creative flair which could have saved them doing an album entirely of covers.

What I can’t tell you, however, is whether there are any ‘stand-out’ tracks on the album. There are some numbers which are better than others, or more catchy than others. ‘Little Sally Walker’ got me tapping my fingers when I hadn’t realised the previous song was still playing and the penultimate track on the album ‘Never Like This Before’ had me reaching for the remote control and turning the volume up. I think perhaps the defining track of the album is the first song ‘Dont Fight It’. It certainly sets the rest of the album up for a feel good, sing-along fun-fest, but only if you are of a certain age and you were a fan of Huey Lewis and The News when they were in their heyday. These guys certainly know what is going to pay their pensions, for as good as this album is, these songs will translate in a much better way to the live stage, so expect quite a few dancing-in-the-aisles moments in music halls all over the land.

So as come-back albums go this one is pretty good and I am going to go as far as to say that I like and that is a big deal for someone who hadn’t given this band much time in the past. Usually I am very much of the opinion that the 80’s should stay in the 80’s no matter how great a time it was. But when it comes to Huey Lewis and The News, I am more than happy to let them have another throw of the dice.

Rating 4/5
Reviewer: Hugh Hamill

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