red lights


Post-mid-life crisis provides
brave, mature pop

Richard Butler - Richard Butler
(Koch Records)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: July 1, 2006
Richard Butler

Review by Tony Bonyata

It's been over a quarter century since Richard Butler released his first album with the influential new wave '80s band The Psychedelic Furs, and while he recorded seven full-length efforts with The Furs, along with a brief stint in the late-nineties with his side-project Love Spit Love, his latest self-titled solo debut showcases a man entering middle age gracefully - if not entirely unsure of his own future.
The album unfolds with the acoustic-driven pop balladry of "Good Days Bad Days," where the singer seems as if he's ready to start over from scratch, complete with the knowledge that he'll have to do it with the inevitable missteps and mistakes. This mature awakening continues through the darker, ghostly pop of "California," the electronically charged "Last Monkey" and the maudlin "Nothing's Wrong."
Butler is well-known for penning gorgeous, sweeping melodies and has delivered more of these with the radio-friendly pop of "Broken Aeroplane," "Satellites" and "Sentimental Airlines," that, like their titles might suggest, often take flight with swelling choruses and gravity-defying electro musings.
"I don't know why this dream is running dry," Butler laments on the lilting beauty of "Maybe Someday" which closes out the album. But before he gives up he adds, "Maybe someday I'll tear it all down," as if fully prepared for his own new beginning. Even his crooning vocal delivery, which has often been favorably compared with David Bowie, seems as if it's finally branded as his own after all these years.
It may be a post-mid-life crisis that has Richard Butler eschewing his past in favor of an unsure future, but it's a refreshingly brave, as well as satisfying, thing to do at this stage in his career.

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