After a seven year wait, the Blue Nile returned in 1996 with this optimistically titled album. This indeed had a more cheerful and positive atmosphere than the brooding Hats, and it has its fair share of straightforward love songs. Paul's voice is still spine-tinglingly laid back, but with a more soulful feel than before.
The opening track starts with the barest of acoustic refrains, and Paul Buchanan pleading to Jesus to tell him whether his happiness will last, eventually accompanied by a gospel choir. Sometimes this song makes me cry, at other times I find it slightly eerie. "Tomorrow Morning" is another great song of nervous optimism, wondering whether he will be married, over a hypnotic acoustic strum.
I hate to say that the remaining tracks are patchy, but they're actually not that varied, mainly upbeat love songs. The exception is "Family Life", an achingly emotional piano ballad, seemingly about a father parted from his children, which can also absorb me into crying along with him.
May 14, 2003