Following up an excellent album can be a daunting exercise. Luckily, The Waterboys are capable of taking up that challenge, and on August 21st they present an album that betters, if not surpasses last years Where The Action Is. On Good Luck, Seeker, Mike Scott and crew, take that energetic vibe that was injected into last year’s release, and build on it. They are an outfit working as a cohesive, dynamic machine, a rarity in modern music.
A lot of bands, who are on the scene as long as The Waterboys, tend to rest on past glories, and ride a wave of nostalgia. That is not the case here. Across the 14 tracks on Good Luck, Seeker, the band takes the listener by the hand, and pulls them into another world. It is that daring, and that adventurous, and that is the utter brilliance on offer. I was pleasantly surprised when the opener “The Soul Singer” detonated. A horn driven, Memphis-styled work of art. Pumping with life, and Mike’s subtle, sneering vocals are ageless as ever. It lifts, soars and moves forward with grace.
Following comes the more relaxed, and slower paced “(You’ve Got To) Kiss A Frog Or Two”. It is an honest telling of broken love, and searching (seeking) for that important soul mate. “Low Down In The Broom” is an atmospheric slow burner, immersed in those Celtic influences that dominate The Waterboys sound. Both lyrically, and indeed musically, “Low Down In The Broom” is an astonishingly dramatic affair. Though the techno-inspired tribute to “Dennis Hopper” twists with tongue-in-cheek fun. After repeated listens, the psychedelic-fuelled track lodges in your brain effortlessly.
Continuing the sublime path, “Freak Street” reeks of seventies New York, both in context and theme. After the 46 second interlude “Sticky Fingers”, “Why Should I Love You?” opens with the rolling organ of Brother Paul which swirls throughout the track. This helps to create a well imagined cinematic piece of music. That carnival theme that summons the stark, and wonderful “My Wanderings In The Weary Land” is tastefully precise, and spiritual. This is a track which perfectly produces all the best elements of the band across 6 minutes, 48. It is a wild journey with half spoken, half sung lyrics against the band forging a mammoth wall of sound.
The dreamy drums that open “Postcard From The Celtic Dreamtime” feel like a breeze of fresh air, as the imagery coming from the lips of Mike Scott builds in your brain. It is one part tribute to the west of Ireland, and another part tribute to nature, and the wonders we take for granted. The title track continues with spoken vocal, a more philosophical view than before, and again built against electric instruments with an eastern flavour. This leads further into the artistic density on Good Luck, Seeker, here you will find the roaring preacher executing the monstrous “Everchanging”. A track that stutters and quakes before finding solace in chanting.
Truthfully, this is an excellent album that will reap the acclaim that was bestowed on Let’s See Action. In a perfect world Good Luck, Seeker should be a contender for album of the year. The thing is, the perception of music buyers is normally that bands, who are decades on the scene, don’t normally take risks and stretch themselves like this. The fact is Mike Scott, and the musicians that surround him are fearless, and we are the better for it.
1. The Soul Singer
2. (You’ve Got To) Kiss A Frog Or Two
3. Low Down In The Broom
4. Dennis Hopper
5. Freak Street
6. Sticky Fingers
7. Why Should I Love You?
8. The Golden Work
9. My Wanderings In The Weary Land
10. Postcard From The Celtic Dreamtime
11. Good Luck, Seeker
12. Beauty In Repetition
14. The Land Of Sunset
Deluxe Edition Bonus Disc (Alt. Versions)
1. The Soul Singer (inst)
2. (You’ve Got To) Kiss A Frog Or Two (inst)
3. Low Down In The Broom (gtr/vocal)
4. Dennis Hopper (Demo)
5. Why Should I Love You? (inst)
6. My Wanderings In The Weary Land (vocal)
7. Postcard From The Celtic Dreamtime (inst)
8. Beauty In Repetition (inst)
9. The Soul Singer (demo)
10. The Land Of Sunset (inst)