Universal Hall

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
Mike Scott begins his eighth proper Waterboys record with the kind of laid-back intensity that fueled the group's 1990 Celtic rock classic Room to Roam. "This Light Is for the World" is the inspirational headlight on a devotional train hauling 12 tunes through the heart of northeast Scotland. The album was named after Universal Hall, a theater run by the Findhorn Foundation, a spiritual community that Scott joined in 1992 and where he has continued to visit, write, and perform. The recorded Universal Hall is an entirely different vehicle than the group's last offering, the noisy, dark, and aptly titled, A Rock in the Weary Land. Focusing on life, light, and ...
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AUDIO CD Very Good 796627005329 U.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
Mike Scott begins his eighth proper Waterboys record with the kind of laid-back intensity that fueled the group's 1990 Celtic rock classic Room to Roam. "This Light Is for the World" is the inspirational headlight on a devotional train hauling 12 tunes through the heart of northeast Scotland. The album was named after Universal Hall, a theater run by the Findhorn Foundation, a spiritual community that Scott joined in 1992 and where he has continued to visit, write, and perform. The recorded Universal Hall is an entirely different vehicle than the group's last offering, the noisy, dark, and aptly titled, A Rock in the Weary Land. Focusing on life, light, and sense of place, Scott, who describes the record as "full of love and fire," has no qualms about his renewed religious fervor. In the sparse "The Christ in You," he tells the listener, "I'm gonna look twice at you/Until I see the Christ in you." Not everything is so heavy handed, though, and the tunes range from fun "Always Dancing, Never Getting Tired" to gorgeous "Peace of Iona" to psychedelic "Seek the Light". Lyrically, Scott has simplified, focusing on inspiration rather than conversation, often repeating the title of the song, as in the Nick Drake-cloned, "Every Breath Is Yours." On the previous two records, Scott depended upon a rotating lineup of studio musicians to fill the holes he could not, which had a tendency to deflate the intimacy of his songwriting. The return of fiddler Steve Wickham is a welcome one, and he sneaks his way into every piece with delicious results. His gifts are most apparent on the epic title track, a tendril of wind that nearly achieves the tornadic catharsis of the mid-'80s, This Is the Sea-era Waterboys. Fans who yearn for those anthems of yesterday may find themselves cursing the enigma that is Mike Scott, but there's no denying his vision.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/9/2003
  • Label: Minty Fresh
  • UPC: 796627005329
  • Catalog Number: 70053

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Waterboys Primary Artist
Chris Madden Tambourine, Loops
Mike Scott Organ, Synthesizer, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Harmonium, Electric Piano, Tambourine, Vocals, 12-string Guitar, Loops, Hand Drums, Resonator, Group Member
Steve Wickham Fiddle, Performing Ensemble, Resonator, Group Member
Findlay Grant Drums
May East Sanza
Scott Gamble Djembe, Hand Drums, Djouak
Craig Gibsone Didjeridu
Richard Naiff Flute, Piano, Performing Ensemble, Group Member
Technical Credits
Chris Blair Mastering
Chris Madden Engineer
Mike Scott Sound Effects, Producer, Contributor, Orchestral Arrangements
Steve Wickham Orchestral Arrangements
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    'Universal Hall' is a must-have for Waterboys fans

    The Waterboys’ newly-released “Universal Hall” marks the Scotland-spawned outfit’s first studio collection since 2001’s “A Rock in the Weary Land” and the good news is that the collection should rank on more than a few top 10 lists this year. From the driving Celtic folk of “This Light is for the World” to the sparse and beautiful “The Christ In You” and the electronica-fused “Seek the Light,” the 12-song collection finds singer-songwriter Mike Scott and company performing the band’s best batch of songs since “This is The Sea” (1985) and “Fisherman’s Blues (1988). Like Bruce Cockburn and U2, Scott is able to sing about his faith without insulting himself or his audience, using deeply affecting lyrics and singing that simultaneously strikes close to home while occupying a mystical place far away. Musically anchored by thundering piano (courtesy of Scott and Richard Naiff) and emotive fiddler Steve Wickham, the musical spirit of the CD truly transports the discerning listener to a place where it’s a joy to dance in the light.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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