"YOU keep coming back like a song." Nice intro music, boys. I guess Irving Berlin saw it coming. Whatever it is about a reformed rock band swiping a popular song from the 1940s for their entrance, you have to applaud Del Amitri for telling it as it is.
They never really broke up. According to moustachioed guitarist Iain Harvie, "the phone just stopped ringing". For 10 years. But again, bands just keep coming back these days. The sight of lead singer Justin Currie on his knees (bass swinging and hair flopping) suggests a live reunion like no other. And then the tunes kick in.
Del Amitri were never cool, but the Glaswegian outfit had enough chart success in the late '80s/early '90s (including three top 40 hits Stateside) to guarantee the inevitable victory lap. The only problem is the songs haven't aged well. Schmaltzy, daytime rock numbers that wouldn't sound out of place in the corner of a country pub, Del Amitri's output is so utterly forgettable you wonder if Currie signed a deal with the devil.
It's been so long since they played together that the "new technology" has Currie (49) all flustered. He's a good vocalist, and a dab hand at guitar. Alas, he may also be one of the most ineffective frontmen alive – bland, unremarkable and unhip.
This isn't jangly guitar music – it's AOR. Sure, there's a strong riff at the centre of 1992's Just Like a Man, and the edgier Drunk in a Band offers a glimpse of what might have been had Del Amitri not wasted their time driving with the brakes on. Alas, it sometimes feels as though Currie, Harvie and their fellow musicians are rehashing the same number over and over. The farther they look back (Always the Last to Know, Be My Downfall), the drearier it gets. There's even a slow set that threatens to last all night (accordion included).
Drab, uneventful and completely void of spark, the Del Amitri comeback experience was probably supposed to highlight the various peaks of this band's career. Instead, it just plods along aimlessly for an hour-and-a-half. Currie seems like a pleasant guy. Reassuring his fans that the sappy Hammering Heart was written before he lost his virginity is a sign that the man might have a great sense of humour too. And Del Amitri are not a terrible band (no, really). They're just an insignificant one. Sometimes, that's worse. HHIII