Review: Paul McCartney – New
Published on October 17th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
By now no one’s expecting the second half of Abbey Road, but New flaunts enough vintage Paul McCartney traits to be an entirely worthwhile venture.
He’s still got that magical way with a chord progression, his voice holds up surprisingly well given some recent live showings, and he’s still got a Martin on production duties: George’s son Giles, billed here as ‘executive producer’.
New kicks off in fine fettle with “Save Us”, a rollicking, urgent number graced by beaming layers of harmonies that seem to align it with McCartney’s 1982 album Tug of War.
That’s not the only nostalgic pit stop: the deliciously melancholic strum of “Alligator” is touched by brooding fuzz guitar straight off 1971’s Ram or even late-period Beatles, while its psychedelic breakdown section brings to mind McCartney’s contribution to “A Day in the Life”…
…as does “On My Way to Work”, if only for its title (“Woke up, got outta bed” and all that); otherwise it’s like a cut from 1970’s McCartney LP, except when it briefly steps up a gear into a hissing sort of stomp.
“On my way to work, I bought a magazine / Inside a pretty girl liked to water ski / She came from Chichester to study history / She had removed her clothes for the likes of me” is bound to delight and infuriate in equal measure, but Rocksucker is left wondering whether or not “the likes of me” is meant to infer that she only takes her clothes off for popular music legends. Fair enough if so.
“Queenie Eye” is also rather Ram, which is to say it’s magnificent; “Early Days” shows off yer man’s folky side, while the title track is a bit like ELO reimagining “Penny Lane” before its surprisingly SMiLE-esque ending.
Even at 71, McCartney is given to lateral thinking; witness the squishy beat and out-there guitar effect of the mesmerising “Appreciate”, or “Hosanna”, which – unless our ears are playing tricks on us – features psychedelic backwards guitar.
Okay, it’s nothing new, but that doesn’t make it any less welcome. Ironically, that could very well be a summary of New.
New is out now on Virgin EMI.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!