Book Of Lightning
It has been some time since a properly 'essential' Waterboys disc. 1990's Room To Roam rounded off a remarkable run of 7 years and 5 albums form. 1993's Dream Harder had its moments, but the 'comeback' disc in 2000, A Rock In A Weary Land was an odd thing - all unfocused rock and few tunes. So, it seems reasonable to approach Book of Lightning with trepidation. But, none is needed. The rock is good, melodic and humorous, but the music generally is elevated in the second half of the disc, when Steve Whickham's fiddle makes a welcome return - elegantly understated and achingly gorgeous.
The Crash of Angel Wings starts the album well as a straight (Mike Scott-like) rock song, but when Strange Arrangement kicks in on track 4, you're back in the rich seam of folk/ rock that only The Waterboys can pull off. Sustain is genuinely capable of sitting in any Best Of The Waterboys, You In The Sky is even better, and Everybody Takes A Tumble is Fisherman's Blues jig and reel-excellent. Book of Lightning need not find memories of who The Waterboys used to be to make a case for itself. Welcome back to a truly iconic 80s band.