Mike Blair of Unicorn
reviews Looking Both Ways by George PapavgerisAll too often, when solo singers make the almost irresistible transition to something fuller and more complex, it signals a loss of their very essence. But not for George.
In this, his 8th album in as many years, the fat Greek (his term, not mine) adds a brilliant feel for orchestration to his legendary mastery of rhyme and rhythm. Paul Sartin, Pete Flood, Vicky Swan and Jonny Dyer, with 12 very different instruments between them, provide a rich variety of sounds and rhythms, as appropriate and precise as George's words. Add to this the Tindall family chorus, and the whole is exactly the sum of its very talented parts.
The 14 songs are as perceptive and beautifully crafted as ever. George's theme of mufti-culturalism is admirably expressed in Daniel & Ayse and Street Life, both rhythmically ornate. The answer to the simple thought "exactly what have we achieved?" is disturbingly accurate in Rejection; and the way distance hides reality perfectly summed up in his typically anti-urban song Hills above the City.
On the lighter side, Serendipity is a deceptively simple exploration of how sheer chance brings people together. And his observation of an inferred lovers tryst over a cup of coffee, Love of a Sort, is superb - a sort of MJQ meets Jake Thackaray, with Jonny Dyer's Take 5 keyboard accompaniment.
Enough said - just buy it. You won't be disappointed.