New album from Paul Haig
Relive is issued on 16 November via Rhythm of Life.
Marking Paul Haig’s third new album in as many years, Relive is more evidence of a remarkable surge of creativity from the man who once vowed never to sing or perform on stage again.
It’s been 28 years since Josef K released their one and only album The Only Fun In Town, and much has changed for Haig and for the world. What remains is Haig’s gift for off-kilter pop melodies, meticulously arranged guitars, spiky attitude and angst-ridden lyrics. At ten tracks and just over half an hour long, Relive is the kind of fat-free, brisk and brilliant album that Haig and his peers have the patent for.
Conceived as a mini road movie, Relive is more organic than his recent works, with less programming and more real time playing with the aforementioned guitars at the core. The title, says Haig, is about “The eternal search for truth and meaning. Having to move up and deal with shit to get to a certain place in your existence and maybe keep revisiting, then reinventing yourself as you try to make good.”
Opening track Trip Out The Rider sets the album’s road movie theme, as does the itchy title track, Relive, which evokes Talking Heads and has creepy lyrics about “watching out for the things that lie by the roadside, like roadkill - the stuff out of horror films.”
The epic-sounding Ambition was written almost 20 years ago, but its message – be careful what you wish for if all you wish for is fame – is ever-pertinent in this X-Factor obsessed world. So Contemporary is “a wee bit of twee for a laugh,” Good Thing is another track written about 19 years ago that’s finally found a home, and Round And Round was co-written with Josef K’s Malcolm Ross. With its spiked, clipped and dislocated funk guitar, it’s the nearest thing to Josef K since, well, Franz Ferdinand.
Later, the elegantly downbeat Listen To Me is “a ballad skulking around in the album,” and Horses is a cover of the Pere Ubu song. Without A Doubt is about “a Michael Douglas Falling Down moment, of which I have many these days. You've had it, society has disintegrated and everyone's lost the plot, it's all too much so you try to take control of circumstances around you and then maybe suffer the consequences.” Closing the album is Eyes Wide Open, which brings the threads of paranoia and social dissolution to a climax.