In the Groove
An Appointment with Mr Yeats
On this ambitious album the Waterboys take poems of Irish Nobel Laureate W.B. Yeats and set them to song. And this being the Waterboys, 'song' often means nothing less than stadium rock. As powerful as the lyrics become, the project confronts head on the difference between the forms: song lyrics generally don't pack the literary punch of poetry. There are moments where the density of the words threatens a Spinal Tap-ian over-earnestness. Fortunately those moments are few and the results more often take on the flavour of those most literary singer/songwriters like Dylan, Cohen or Waits. Lead singer Mike Scott certainly has the gravitas to take on the rich symbolism in the words whilst the quality band (with strings, horns and woodwind added to the standard rock line-up) have plenty of scope to stretch out when needed. The words and music come together best in tracks like Mad as the Mist and Snow where Scott's urgent repetition of the title launches an extended fiddle solo that builds to frenetic crescendo before the standard rock fade. News of the Delphic Oracle begins and ends with a Kurt Weil-like theatricality whilst An Irish Airman Foresees His Death is set to a sparse organ and drum arrangement with a ghostly oboe solo. A bold concept album.
This album is available at Music Bizarre in Lismore.