ALBUM REVIEWS


Mr Hudson & The Library
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
MERCURY RECORDS 5/3/07
@www.vanguard-online.co.uk


When I heard Mr Hudson’s first EP I took against it for the tricksiness then, when they organised a tour of, guess what, libraries, that sealed the deal for me. Neverthless, as a dedicated searcher for pearls in piles of poo, I gave this album a few spins and, you know what, it grew on me.

On The Street Where You Live sets the benchmark for strangeness – a reworked and partly reworded hip-hopped version of the number from the musical My Fair Lady. Things move on into speedy little songs before Mr Hudson takes a go at the lovely old ballad Everything Happens To Me. He roughs it up with a very deep back beat and a revisiting of the lyrics. Not wholly bad, considering how much I like Sinatra’s fifties version. The album does sound a bit ‘hot’ – a bit distorted like it’s been mastered too loud. I’m sure The Library wanted something a bit smoother.

Songs travel the fine high-wire between pretension and cool, wobbling far towards pretension often but I like the kind of self-belief that produces something that can be as easily taken as crap as it can genius. Nice when a record possesses the ability to divide opinion like that. So Mr Hudson wants to do something in a trip-hop style and to sing ballads but not possessing the voice, he goes for singing in a more constrained way or doing talky bits. The single, Bread + Roses, might be familiar to a few people and that isn’t far from the sound of the rest of the album.

This is the kind of self-obsessed bloke you might avoid at a party, full of belief in himself and wanting to document his life as art. And doesn’t that describe a lot of worthwhile creative greats too? Hey, look at Kevin Rowland for an example….. Whether he’s a genius or a poseur, I’m glad he’s enjoyed making this.

www.mrhudsonandthelibrary.com


Ross McGibbon