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Love and the Russian Winter
     

Love and the Russian Winter

by Simply Red
 

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A loaf of rye, a jug of vodka, and a copy of this melty disc would pretty much guarantee a season-long spate of romance, on or off the Siberian tundra. But while the warm, burnished tones of the arrangements -- and of Mick Hucknall's fire-and-ice voice -- make a beeline for the heart's inner spaces, a fair number of the album's 11 songs aim for the head as well.

Overview

A loaf of rye, a jug of vodka, and a copy of this melty disc would pretty much guarantee a season-long spate of romance, on or off the Siberian tundra. But while the warm, burnished tones of the arrangements -- and of Mick Hucknall's fire-and-ice voice -- make a beeline for the heart's inner spaces, a fair number of the album's 11 songs aim for the head as well. Hucknall has always been a keen observer, as far back as "Money's Too Tight to Mention," and this time around he's outdone himself with passionate treatises like "Man Made the Gun" and the millennial anthem "Wave the Old World Goodbye," both of which are shot through with an everyman worldview that's both easily digested and provocative. LOVE AND THE RUSSIAN WINTER isn't exclusively heavy going, though: Hucknall is remarkably effective in making the segue from such topics to the honeyed eroticism of "Your Eyes" and "Ain't That a Lot of Love." That duality has made Simply Red one of pop music's more fascinating, wholly original entities for a decade and a half, and long may they smolder on.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Simply Red entered a holding pattern after 1991's Stars, turning out two records in a row that essentially replicated its charms, only with diminishing returns. Mick Hucknall must have realized he was stagnating, since 1999's Love and the Russian Winter is the first time since Stars that he's shaken up his sound. It's still recognizably Simply Red, as it trades in '70s soul and jazz-pop influences, but there are a number of reasonably contemporary influences added into the mix. As it turns out, these influences are largely based in house music, which means that Simply Red took some weird middle ground between Everything But the Girl and Soul II Soul. Still, these changes are welcome, since they've revitalized Hucknall and his collaborators, Andy Wright and Gota Yashiki. They're willing to try different sounds and write in different idioms. Occasionally, they might sound as if they're forcing matters somewhat, but there's also a number of gems that pop up on the album, from "The Spirit of Life" to "The Sky Is a Gypsy." And while the title may imply that Love and the Russian Winter is a concept album of sorts, that's not true -- Hucknall and company have reserved their ambitions for their refurbished production instead of channeling them into a song cycle. That's for the best, actually, since Simply Red works the best on a song-by-song basis, particularly when they rely on love songs (the millennium farewell "Wave the Old World Goodbye" is one of the more awkward moments on the record). Love and the Russian Winter doesn't quite rise to the level of the group's strongest records, but it's a refreshing change of pace from an outfit who seemed to have gone stagnant.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/13/2008
Label:
Atlantic Uk
UPC:
0639842994224
catalogNumber:
429942

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Simply Red   Primary Artist
Greg Bone   Guitar
Mick Hucknall   Vocals,Background Vocals
Ian Kirkham   Saxophone
Kevin Robinson   Trumpet
Damo Suzuki   Guitar
Tim Vine   Bass,Keyboards
Gota Yashiki   Bass,Drums
Chris DeMargary   Flute,Saxophone
Andy Wright   Bass,Keyboards
Dee Johnson   Background Vocals
James Wiltshire   Keyboards
Geoff Holroyde   Drums
Aidan Love   Keyboards
Mark Jaimes   Guitar
John Johnson   Trombone
Sara Brown   Background Vocals
Phillipe Manjard   Keyboards
Wayne Stobbart   Bass
Dom T   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Clay   Engineer
Alan Douglas   Engineer
Mick Hucknall   Producer,Artwork,Horn Arrangements
Gota Yashiki   Programming,Producer
John Lee   Engineer
Andy Wright   Programming,Producer
James Wiltshire   Programming,Engineer
Matt White   Engineer
Matthew White   Engineer
Merv Pearson   Programming,Producer
Agm   Producer
Mark Togashi   Engineer
Ned Douglas   Programming
Peacock   Artwork

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