2011’s ‘So Beautiful Or So What’ proved to be an impressive and rewarding comeback for the mercurial singer songwriter. Paul Simon’s latest, ‘Stranger To Stranger’ has been half a decade in the making and is another similarly exciting pop record.
As it turns out, Simon is still obsessed with bustling African rhythms and they form the backbone for many of the songs here. Things mesh rather wonderfully on ‘Street Angel’ and ‘Werewolf’, mixing a hushed, almost spoken word delivery with brief explosions of vibrant melody.
Spindly double bass punctuates the excellent and humorous single, ‘Wristband’, which tells the story of a rockstar that is refused entry to the very concert he is due to be playing. As always, Simon’s keen eye for detail further enriches proceedings: “And the man was large, a well-dressed six-foot-eight / And he's acting like Saint Peter standing guard at the pearly”.
The shimmering ‘Proof Of Love’ and closing rumination ‘Insomniac’s Lullaby’ provide some much needed emotional heft, something that’s distinctly lacking for most of the album’s first half.
Although uncompromising in it’s vision and delivery, ‘Stranger To Stranger’ ultimately, serves as another fine testament to Simon’s craft and ingenuity as a songwriter.
Words: Luke Winstanley
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