Sound: Same as always but a bigger indulgence than even the most avid fan would dislike in keyboard. Lindup is one hell of a player and this album lets you know. I get the feeling Level 42 have taken it's a far as it will go. Signs of exhaustion are showing here with Kings bass being forced to the back of the mix. 'Sleep Talking' is as good as the album gets as far a bass is concerned. It's has a 'Mr. Pink' style intro with what can only be described as a rap in the middle, with fantastic bass work. The title track 'Retroglide', is very 'Dune Tuney' but is placed halfway through to help break up the waffle. The collection is beautifully mixed and produced yet lacks feel unlike earlier tracks in these great musicians' careers. Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good here. // 6
Lyrics: The vocal harmonies are wonderful and they remind me a lot of the 'Guaranteed' era but the lyrics themselves are weak compared to the older albums like 'Running In The Family'. I've listened intently and am still yet to find myself singing one while I am about my daily business. // 7
Overall Impression: The best way to sum it up is thus:
01. Dive Into The Sun - funked (yes, spelt correctly) up metal riffs with a 'Lessons In Love' feel in the lyric.
02. Rooted - the discordant guitar intro is enough to put anyone off but given time, this arrangement is quite nice. Singing and bass is great too.
03. The Way Back Home - tiresome harmonics from King remind us of the 'True Colours' years, yet they are just what the track requires. The haunting vocal and blues harp are nice touches until Lindup destroys it with his bad keyboard melodies.
04. Just For You - lindup was clearly sober during this one. The piano is wonderful with the keyboard twittering in the background. Reminiscent of 'It's Over'.
05. Sleep Talking - the album starts to sound like Level 42 again here! King is right at the front of the mix, leading the band. The rap is almost catchy. Also shows that King can still get those high notes.
06. Retroglide - hoping for an instrumental here, I was disappointed when the words come through. The bass melodies would have worked well on their own. Swing feel but played straight, get your head around that!
07. All Around - just when you think the CD is taking off this hits your ears. Production was also evil enough to make the intro sound like the song is going somewhere with bass runs and drones. Shame.
08. Clouds - one of the better ones, 'Clouds', although rather predictable, is again showing of Kings vocal talents.
09. Hell Town Story - too little too late. A great track being used to mop up the crap that has gone before it. Placed at the beginning of the album, this track would have worked wonders for your ears.
10. Ship - you're waiting for a dance beat to kick in. Thank God it doesn't. A melancholy tune summing up a melancholy listening experience. Don't quite know what to make of this one. One for the guitarists though. The Satch style solos are great and they are pulled off well. Twin guitars are very 70's though. The Brian May harmony should be left to him.
11. All I Need (UK bonus track) - I think they mean outtake! The reversed snare is old hat now. I never knew people still used it. Not like this anyway! Nasty vocal here. Sorry Mark!
As a real fan I feel bad about slating it like this but judging by amount of publicity the band gave it, I get the impression they didn't like it much either. Maybe the next one will offer more? Keyboard players would like this album better than bassists or guitarists. // 6