Sunday, December 9, 2018

IAN McNABB's Our Future In Space reviewed!


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No matter which Rock ‘n’ Roll era you are talking about (from the ‘50s to modern times), many of the truly original artists lose a bit of their shine over time. An artist that made great albums in their early twenties are not necessarily creating musical magic by the time they hit their fifties. In fact, some of them gave up creating new music and turned into nostalgia acts within two decades of their debut album. A lot of that has to do with the public’s waning interest in new product – they only want to hear the ‘oldies but goodies’ and are only mildly interested/amused in the artist’s new material. There are exceptions to that… and I’m fairly certain that you, the reader, have a few examples.  Mine is Ian McNabb.  From his early ‘80s work with The Icicle Works up through his 1994 Mercury Prize-nominated HEAD LIKE A ROCK album and beyond, Ian McNabb has not only continued to make great music, he has far exceeded his initial promise and continues to release some of the finest music of our generation.

His 2018 album, OUR FUTURE IN SPACE, is no exception. With influences ranging from the Lennon side of The Beatles to T. Rex and Neil Young, this is an album that looks forward while drawing inspiration from the past. With a 1-2-3-4 punch of fab rockers right up front (“I Can See Tomorrow,” “Supermoon,” “Medicated Emma,” and “Reeperbahn”), the album is a rollercoaster of emotion. Once you’ve experienced those blasts of adrenaline-fueled Rock, you’re thrust head-first into the poignant and majestic autobiographical “Makin’ Silver Sing,” one of his finest ballads to date. Then things get playful with ‘Vodka Rivers & Cigarette Trees.” “The Day I Learned To Say No” has a massive tune wrapped inside another straight-ahead rocker. “A Secret Everybody Knows” reminds us that Ian McNabb is just as much a Pop maestro as he is a Rock hero. “Toxic” is a fist-pumping cover of the Britney Spears hit, given a new life in the most McNabbian of ways. While he doesn’t pander to any genre, “My Accuser” would be a massive hit if terrestrial or satellite radio stations were actually on the ball. The 'Country Music In Outer Space' vibe of “Throw The Rest Away” is a lesson on how to be confident without being an arrogant ape. “Our Future In Space” is another rocker that could rock a stadium if given half the chance. The album’s closer, “Girls From Across The Water,” is a lovely album closer – yet another song that proves that McNabb has lost none of his passion or melodic charm. And for you lovers of R.E.M., there's even a collaboration with that band's guitarist Peter Buck, who co-wrote and provides guitar to the Folk-influenced "Aquamarine."

Ian McNabb has created some of the most essential music of our generation and he continues to outshine anyone in the charts today. Very few of his ‘80s contemporaries made it out of the decade, falling prey to an ever-changing industry. In fact, few of his ‘90s contemporaries made it out of their decade for the same reason. Same with the ‘00s. Here it is, 2018, and Ian McNabb is at the top of his game. I don’t see him giving up his seat any time soon. Do yourself a favor and buy OUR FUTURE IN SPACE. And while you are at it, you should pick up his last album STAR SMILE STRONG, too. And ECLECTIC WARRIOR. And KRUGERRANDS. And….

Keep on truckin',
Stephen SPAZ Schnee

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