Listening to Lucky 23, by Aldo Cruickshank, is like pulling up the duvet on a wet, wintry Sunday with your comfy pyjamas on. You know it's 3PM, you still feel fuzzy but the CD’s on repeat and you’ve another half hour in bed. Until now, Aldo's reputation has been garnered through his road crew work with The Proclaimers, so imagine everyone's shock when old demos surfaced on the tour bus and the twins stormed off and hired a jet for the rest of the tour.
Unless it's unreleased Elvis demos on Sun Records, I’m not a fan any artist shoving out demos. It's about value, showbiz, doing it for the fans. However, one of the most beguiling qualities of Lucky 23 is the understated nature of the 7 track mini album, recorded in 2007 by David Whitelaw and remastered by Andy Gardener. The result is available on Proclaimers bassist Garry John Kane’s label, Button Up Records.
The opener You Make My (Soul Rise) is like delicious homemade bread dipped in soup that's a day old and tastes so much better. All Our Yesterdays requires a call to the pop analogy hotline. I settled for more hooks than an Abu Hansa convention.
There's an evocative charm, embellished with graceful subtle piano, slide guitar and lap steel. The familiar boxes of the Glasgow songwriter's rainy landscape are all ticked. Unfulfilled dreams, unrequited love but there's a restrained optimism and of course, there's oceans and prevailing westerlies. On the dramatic closing track Could Have Been Me despite the familiar opening chords and nod to Prince; it’s more purple heather than purple rain.
Who does it sound like? Maybe Gerry Love from Teenage Fanclub doing a country project and vocally close to early T Rex and Dream Academy.
Get your hands on the limited edition CD or download the album via his myspace, then get the soup on.
Review by Charlie Brown