Vinny Peculiar: Return of the Native review – Worcestershire sauce

Return of the Native
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Artist: Vinny Peculiar
Genre: Rock
Label: Shadrack & Duxbury

Let's hear it for the man who has the wisdom to name his record label after the fictional undertakers firm in Keith Waterhouse's 1959 novel, Billy Liar. And join the dots, if you like, between that novel's influence on Britpop culture and the northern English incisiveness of Vinny Peculiar (aka Alan Wilkes).

With his 14th solo album, Peculiar once again chooses a concept format to outline recent events in his life. The album title refers to a return to Worcestershire after almost 25 years living in Manchester, and the songs explain why: it was a woman that done him in.

He is a songwriter highly attuned to an almost seamless blend of reflection and humour.

Tracks such as Golden City, A Girl from Bromsgrove Town and On Rainbow Hill are stone-cold pop/folk/rock gorgeous, with a lyric from the latter a heartbreaker of regret and self-realisation: "I walk by the river, I talk to the fishes, make any number of indecent wishes, but none of them will come true, because I finished with me when I finished with you." Superb.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture