★★★★ Egypt Station CAPITOL. CD/DL/LP Just as the shadows lengthen… a surprise good day sunshine!
Macca fans have been bracing for the long goodbye: the shorter tours, the longueurs between albums, the voice losing its spring and grip, the birthdays mounting up to 76. But now, five years after his last album, New, Paul McCartney releases his bounciest, catchiest, most consistent collection since, well, Band On The Run. How has he done it? By returning to the disciplines of that ‘70s era when a hit single really mattered. So: the thumping swagger of Abe Laboriel Jr’s Ringoid drums; no clutter – let’s hear the hooks, not have to dig for them; strict quality control on melody, harmony and groove; concision – no song outstays its welcome. Take a bow, then, Beck, Adele and Kelly Clarkson producer Greg Kurstin. Every song has a talking point, conspicuously the seven-minute Despite Repeated Warnings. Contra-Brexit? Eco-alert? Whatever, every song puts a tap in your toe, a worm in your ear and a smile on your face.