Comebacks, auf die die Welt gewartet hat, oder? (X)
EI8HT is a mature pop record and this will no doubt put off the ‘trendy’, whilst some people’s perception of Nik may be stuck in the 80s, Kershaw himself has long since unshackled himself from the trappings of the decade. That is not to say that his sometimes quirky sound is lost, you need only listen to his ode to our addiction to gadgets and gizmos, ‘Stuff’ or ‘Enjoy The Ride’ with the cheeky line ‘I hope you wear, your funky pants’ to find the ‘Kershaw’ sound is still firmly imbedded throughout.
‘These Tears’ kicks things off with just a hint of 80s synth magic to take the edge off a rueful chorus that has Nik declaring ‘these tears are all I have, all I have to remind me, these sweet tears are all I have’. First single ‘The Sky’s The Limit’ is, on first listen, a gentle even slightly safe track, but the more you hear it the more the soaring melody washes over you and you can hear the master ‘pop’peteer at work. It is no wonder everyone from Lulu to Let Loose have employed his services over the years
The album is well paced as whilst this is unashamedly a pop record and there are no dramatic surprises, the flow throughout means there is never a dip in quality and whether it is the gushing pop froth of ‘You’re The Best’ or the restrained splendour of ‘The Bell’ nothing feels forced or out of place. Nik has far more than a few pretty tunes up his sleeve however and lyrically ‘EI8HT’ is bursting with tongue-in-cheek humour one minute and honest emotion the next. Perhaps the most pedestrian track is ‘Rock Of Ages’ which is a little too by the numbers but it still has a chorus that is hard to ignore.
‘EI8HT’ marks the first studio album for six years but this time has clearly been well spent. This is an album of instant pop hooks and slow burn beauty, a proper pop record from a proper pop star. Hopefully this will mark the start of a new chapter and more albums will follow, now wouldn’t that be good…
Now in Ei8ht, Nik Kershaw takes the past, crumbles it into little pieces and remoulds his career to great effect whilst knowing that his loyal followers will get this new album and take it to their hearts.
Nik is joined on the album by the very able musicianship of Erik Rydningen on drums, Paul Geary on bass and the backing vocals of Chesney and Keely Hawkes. These vocalists and musicians add to some of the great work already laid down by Mr. Kershaw and on tracks such as The Sky’s The Limit, Bad Day You’re Having and Red Strand the session musicians enhance what is already excellent work.
Although the music of the 21st century could be considered slightly more sophisticated that the time from when Nik Kershaw first stormed the charts, he has however had the good fortune to release a few albums since 1999, this one is by far the best he has produced since his 1980’s heyday. The music and lyrics are near perfect and are some of his most poignant and touching in a 30 year career.
Nothing beats opening the album with an uplifting pop stomper, so that’s exactly what Nik does. ”These Tears” sets an incredible mood for the album, showing straight away what an amazing performer, lyricist and composer Kershaw is. Even though the full album is a pop album, it’s very much pop with a twist; The styles and influences baffle, confound and delight as he effortlessly jumps between genres. Take ”Red Strand” for example, which is a lovely folk pop ballad, and an absolute highlight of the album. There is something for everybody on this album. Not only will the album wow you away, it’s also the perfect reminder why Kershaw has been nominated for three Ivor Novello and four Brit Awards. Absolutely brilliant.