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Honey West - 'Bad Old World' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/bf/d7/29/honey-west-bad-old-world-45-1516997075.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 26, 2018    
 
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It's quite a while since I've heard an album that's as unashamedly good fun as 'Bad Old World'.

Instantly recognisable as one of the founders of King Crimson and Foreigner, Ian McDonald has long been a go-to guy, a fixer – the press release for this album calls him the "special sauce" – his Midas Touch influencing releases by everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Nash The Slash to April Wine and, ehhh... Kanye West (we can forgive him that though, can't we?). A hugely underrated solo album in the shape of 1985's 'Driver's Eyes' aside, McDonald hasn't really stepped back into the limelight since those Crimson-Foreigner days. However, impressed by the clever word play of Shakespearean actor and singer Ted Zurkowski, the man of many talents has become a member of Honey West, alongside his son Maxwell on bass and drummer Steve Holley (Paul McCartney and Wings).

If you've heard '...Eyes', then what you'll find on 'Bad Old World' won't come as much of a shock. It's a mix of AOR and gentle Prog riding a strong Rock 'n' Roll heart, and Zurkowski's wry overview of everyday life. Self-deprecating, yet never flippant, it's clear to see why McDonald was so taken by the musings of his writing partner, the sideways glance the likes of 'Dementia' and the title track provide, sharp enough to make you smile and shake your head simultaneously. For those of us who've been waiting way too long for an album bearing McDonald's unmistakable touch, the music is a pure joy.

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Just dial into the Tom Petty meets Roy Orbison of 'Bad Old World', or the shuffle and shake of 'The September Issue' to become bewitched by the beauty of his crafted and cared for creations. With 'Generationless Man' sounding urgent and forceful, and 'Old Man' and its Travelling Wilburys-like silken stomp being utterly captivating, everywhere you turn there's something to soak in and smile, although it might be the "call and Rock 'n' Roll response" of the aforementioned 'Dementia' which leaves the longest, lasting mark.

While there's a huge amount of music knocking about these days to get excited about or be impressed by, it's quite a while since I've heard an album that's as unashamedly good fun as 'Bad Old World'. That it does so without ever compromising its classy compositions, or cynical, yet thoroughly believable view of the world, proves that if there's one thing you can't hide, it's class. Honey West have it by the barrow full.

Steven Reid

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