Tuesday, June 3, 2014

the Waterboys - A Pagan Place

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of A Pagan Place, the second studio album from the Waterboys. After their self-titled debut a year prior (click here for my review of The Waterboys), this 1984 release went to number 100 in the UK and number 40 in New Zealand.

Side one begins with the up-tempo "Church Not Made with Hands". The song is an ode to a woman searching for salvation. I really like the melody on this as well as the piano solo in the middle.

A pair of songs that focus on the end of a relationship are next. First is "All the Things She Gave Me", which is about making a clean break from all the memories and mementos. It features a sweet saxophone solo.

The lonely ballad "The Thrill is Gone" follows. If the last track is more of a gut reaction, this one comes from the heart.

"Rags" closes out the first half. This one has a good bit of a U2 sound to it.

Side two starts with the bouncy rhythm of "Somebody Might Wave Back". This one is easily my favorite track of the record.

"The Big Music" is a bold and dramatic piece.

The guitar and the backing vocals on the opening of "Red Army Blues" gives it an old-world feel. The lyrics of this epic eight minute long track tell of a seventeen year old soldier during in World War II.

The title track "A Pagan Place" closes the original vinyl album.

The 2002 re-mastered CD edition, which is up on Spotify, also includes a number of additional tracks.

As they did with their debut album, the Waterboys continued to win over this new fan with A Pagan Place. They were not a group I knew of or listened to thirty years ago; I am not sure they made a big splash in the US outside of the college radio alternative market. Luckily, "new" music from the past can readily be discovered as long as it is there for the masses. Needless to say, this one is going on to my future purchase list.

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