Nom – Nom (Nommusic)
I first heard Joe McAlinden sing as part of ‘Smiles and Good Vibes’ back in 1995 or thereabouts. He was part of the West Coast (of Scotland’s) tribute to Brian Wilson and the beach boys. I was totally smitten by the fragile beauty and raw emotion of his voice. I then offended Duglas Stewart, we had just met, by telling him I’d picked up a BMX Bandits’ album in Fopp and “uifbvuuvuain” was my favourite track he said, “..uh thanks but that’s Joe’s song…”
Since then I have kept an ear open and watchful eye on Joe’s career path. When the chance came to review this album by Nom for ITM?/Jock Rock, after all the other reviewers gave it the – erm well it’s a bit easy listening for me to be objective body swerve. I thought give me a go…point me at it …bring on the bossa nova and those smooth strings!
Unfair really, because this is just very good commercial song writing, not just slushy slowies for cash! Anyway, easy listening makes me think of Jimmy Webb, the Bee Gees, Macca, Burt and the aforementioned Mr Wilson and even Scott Walker. Throw in a bit of Serge, Francoise Hardy and Astrid Gilberto – now that’s not a bad late night-party-come-down-soundtrack….dude!
So what about this album….
If ever there was an album that needed a Striesandesque budget this it. Now that isn’t a put down because Joe can really write a good tune – just ask Rod Stewart, who covered ‘Superstar’. Where things are lacking is that this album sounds like a demo for a bigger project altogether. Yet, it still makes for an interesting listen.
Robbie Williams’ biography has been kicking around the coffee table in our house -sad but true – so maybe that’s why I immediately thought these are great tracks for any boy band in need of songs. Hey, Joe McAlinden could be the next Stephen Duffy and ‘Hot Waterfall’ could almost feature on a Bee Gees album – it’s that good – and of course it helps that his famed falsetto aches in all the right places.
There’s no denying that this album has some lovely songs, some beautiful changes and fabulous singing but overall it lacks real personality to take it to a wider audience that the writing deserves. Joe has made a wonderfully commercially sounding album – reaching a kind of peak and undoubted maturity as an artist – but by trying for this ultra commercial sound, the rawness that makes an emotional connection is missing.
Strange as this may seem this album would have sounded much more interesting if the choice of instruments had been different – more acoustic. Hey, but what do I know! The song writing is not unlike George Michael’s “Listen Without Prejudice” period, an album that had an organic and easy flow. Such an approach, Nom’s album perhaps would have benefited from.
Great songs and definitely worth a listen – order for £4.99 from
The burning question for all is which track will Rod cover?