The Waterboys: Where The Action Is review – An unlucky 13th record

Just a glimmer of their familiar charm makes it on to this collection of dated sounds

Where The Action Is
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Artist: The Waterboys
Genre: Rock
Label: Cooking Vinyl

For three decades, Mike Scott’s poetic lyricism has captivated listeners through a distinct repertoire of pulsating descriptions of adoration and aspiration. However, The Waterboys’ thirteenth record, Where The Action Is, fails to inspire.

Scott's eloquence is globally renowned and the Scottish-born songwriter shares his love of literature frequently and unabashedly. On this occasion, the poet Robert Burns and Kenneth Grahame (a recitation from The Wind In The Willows closes the record) are celebrated for their craft.

Elsewhere, London Mike, a fast-paced – albeit tepid – punk number, fondly recounts how his fandom blossomed into a friendship with The Clash's Mick Jones. The album's highlight is formed with the image of Scott enjoying Spinal Tap on a cinema outing with the legendary guitarist.

The sole glimmer of The Waterboys’ familiar charm shines on In My Time On Earth. Over a combination of acoustic guitar and Hammond organ, Scott’s delivery shifts between rage and softly spoken reflections; “I’m so tired of the sound my old fingers make as they tease and torment my guitar.” An apt admission on a record that already sounds dated.