Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Success is a two edged, arguably sharp, most certainly dull in its extremes and capable of truly destroying what you once were. It may bring you everything you ever dreamed of, it might nourish your life for a while but in the event of something going terribly wrong. The soul resigns itself to knowing that it can never recapture the serenity and peace that it had once before. Like Charles Foster Kane, the glory is never worth the dismissal of what it meant to leave your honour behind.
The question of what would be given away easily in return for success is asked more readily than ever musically in the Lancashire Hustlers’ latest album What Made Him Run. The complexity of such thought is marvellously transferred from unspoken musing to verified belief in the songs that make the harmonious selection of songs stand out and quiver with a huge degree of excitement.
What Made Him Run is a rare album in which many sources feel as though they have come and nestled within the framework and unconscious delivery set out by Ian Pakes and Brent Thorley and yet having the tremendous ability to sound unique, playful and trickle down the ears as if the finest champagne had just been discovered to healing properties that helped aid aural distress. It is that unique feel tinged with the feel of hybrid folk and blues of the Jethro Tull early era and with lyrical mastery to match that makes these former Southport residents stand out with big smiles in a burgeoning crowd.
Tracks such as Born Stubborn, Cold Storage, the excellent Now My Mind Turned To Amusement and Sales Talk all grab the imagination but deal with the tricky prospect of the concept album away from its traditional roots steeped in the Progressive style. It is a treatment that works well and in other hands surely would have floundered like salmon with a death wish as it taunts the sneaky bear armed with a scuba diving kit and a bag full of ready to throw dynamite.
For the Lancashire Hustlers the album is a tremendous return after two years away, for the fans it is the admission that they have been lost without the duo in their lives. What Made Him Run is an album that sits by its courage and conviction and comes out very much on top.
Ian D. Hall