Album Review: Under Blue Skies by Armstrong (expanded reissue) (2019) (Country Mile Records / The Beautiful Music)

I have had a now somewhat bedraggled copy of the original album (released in 2007 on CDr) for nearly 10 years. I picked it up primarily for my love of Crazy World (see below) which is one of the most gloriously luscious pop songs you have never heard.

Such a track represents one primary aesthetic of the album. With tracks such as Love Hate Passion and War, Baby You Just Don’t Care, Ralph and Gustav, October Song and Perhaps It’s Time We Said Goodbye all adding fluttering 1000 Violins style guitar-pop to the sort of vocals that Roddy Frame might omit if he swallowed incessant sugar pills…Essentially Julian Pitt’s voice is amazing and these tracks are lucky to have him.

ArmstrongOf course too much beauty can begin to taste saccharine sweet after a while. This is avoided on this extended album (8 extra tracks/alternative versions, added to the original) with Pitt dropping over the guitar-pop precipice in tracks such as The Things That Pass You By, September Skies and Raise Your Head into the dangerous waters of sophisti-pop that have engulfed so many artists when they get it wrong. Thankfully the likes of Candy Opera and Pale Fountains would undoubtedly nod a floppy scouse fringe in appreciation with the easy beauty he conveys.

Similarly Pitt can reside just as comfortably in indie-pop and it’s surrounds, with Sorry About Lately, the superlative Gratitude (see below), Still Miss You and On a Clear Night You Can Stay Together, being the sort of tracks that are suddenly discovered from some long lost jangly indie-pop band that were not quite fleecy enough for Sarah Records.

Usually my closing paragraph will deliberate upon the fact an album may be something of a ‘grower’ and that the listener will have to devote enough time to get maximum rewards. That’s not needed here. It is instantly brilliant or at least it will be when it is finally released…get yourself a pre-order copy here .

Artist Links:  Twitter

Label Links (Country Mile):  Facebook  Twitter

Label Links (The Beautiful Music):  Twitter  Facebook

 

 

 

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