Review - Fellow Hoodlums
TLN July August 1991

Discounting last year's Ooh Las Vegas pearls 'n' swine ragbag, the splendidly titled Fellow Hoodlums is Deacon Blue's 'difficult' third album. Spiritually, it aims to restore the organic, textured pathos of 1987's Raintown, rather than prolong the wholesale chart-fodder of 1989's When The World... Now that would be fine: only, in being so lately recalled, the spirit is no longer fresh. The title track and the cringe worthy Jackie Jumped The Jail, in particular, evince a studied, over-laboured attempt at (re)constructing the purist Scots identity the band pointedly shelved awhile on the airbrushed, mid-Atlantic stationed second LP. I Will See You Tomorrow, Goodnight Jamsie and the funky Closing Time are blissful exceptions, but A Brighter Star is, basically, Circus Lights (which was always a Raintown song anyway) without the panache, the immediacy, or the charm.

Lyrics are a little too self-consciously 'romantic' (James Joyce Soles) and the music too deliberately 'back to basics' (almost all of side one) for this set to succeed as an item, a plausible event. And dammit, the glorious tunes of Raintown, where are they now? Deacon Blue are a marvellous and intelligent band, but, here, they have sold themselves short. Ricky Ross's heart (and larynx) is in the right place - no doubt about that - but that temporarily relinquished artistic haven, the Raintown he is obviously seeking to rediscover, is nowhere amid the oddly soulless, calculated conceits of this disappointing, slackly produced record. 6/10

Paul Hullah