Duncan Reid - 'Little Big Head' (Little Big Head Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Dom Daley   
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 04:30

Duncan_ReidIt's only taken former singer and bass player of The Boys thirty five years to get round to recording his debut solo album but at long last - here it is.  Thirteen songs spread out over forty three and a bit minutes 'Little Big Head' has only gone and done it now.  


Having been in gainful employment for the best part of four decades in The Boys it's not going to take Stephen Hawking to work out where this collection of songs is going to be coming from, unless that is Mr Reid has gone loco and recorded a collection of face melting metal or some wicked skippy rave drum and bass choons. It was with a sigh of relief then that 'The One' bounced out through the speakers with a melody and hook that just screamed Duncan Reid although this time around he's ably assisted by Tony Barber (who played with The Buzzcocks) plus James Stevenson (who currently plays lead guitar for the Alarm as well as Chelsea and Glen Matlock) to name a few of the players who manage to add a guitar here and there.  Vom Ritchie is on the drums and big Nigel Banks is also adding slide, pedal and acoustic guitars.


From the neat packaging Duncan introduces each track telling you where it came from and what it might be about whilst heaping praise on the players who make this album tick.  What do you want from a Duncan Reid album? Well me I wanted catchy melodies! Tick, rousing boys own rock 'n' roll! Tick, the odd rock 'n' roll ballad! Tick.  Surely that's not too much to ask to put out a decent record of say thirteen songs when it's been thirty five years in the making.  No pressure there then.  Actually 'Little Big Head' is a classy record that makes its sound like there wasn't any pressure at all, either it's that easy or Mr Reid is indeed a little big head and knew all along he had enough tunes to deliver the goods, now it's over to us the record buying public to buy it and appreciate it for what it is.  Rock 'n' Roll music pure and simple! Good songs, well played, well recorded.  


Fans of The Boys will love 'The One' with it's jangly innocent intro, then the punky power pop rock turns up for the chorus courtesy of James Stevenson's guitar, but it's catchy and infectious just like you hoped it would. Track two 'Thinking' begins with just the bass and voice before the muted riff and drums kicks in, again pretty much what I was expecting and to be honest exactly what I was hoping to hear. 'Montevideo' is Reid pining for a bar in Motevideo where they've named cocktails after him. The music is not a million miles from some of the new wave of the early 80's and stuff like the Jags 'Back Of My Hand, a great tempo and catchy rock 'n' roll chorus with some Costello style organ thrown in for good measure.  A great summer song if ever there was one.


'Too Late' sees a bit of Lennon piano and echo on the vocals as the glockenspiel adds to the timelessness of the song.  After a few rock 'n' roll songs we reach the acoustic white man's blues of 'If It's What You Want' which features some nifty pedal steel and a tip of the hat maybe to people like Keith Richards in his softer moments when he too delivers songs of this ilk. '77' is a trip down memory lane and a tune that sounds like it was written to be belted out in some sweaty club that's packed to the rafters. Again this is exactly what I wanted to hear on a Duncan Reid solo record.  'All Fall Down' comes to life via a sparse piano intro with just Reid and said instrument for the first ninety seconds before some percussion joins in and not before you think it's going to break out it simply doesn't instead falling back into just piano and voice and is a nicely arranged change around of things that perfectly reflects the nature of the break up lyrics.  


What Reid has done is get a good balance of uptempo rock 'n' roll songs with some piano driven tunes strategically placed here and there as he reflects on the past ('Rolling On'), break ups and women ('Aren't Women Wonderful') good times ('Montevideo') and everything in between.  It's got parts of his past (obviously) but it's ultimately a hopeful album that Reid should be proud of and one that should see him reap the rewards from both old and new fans as they lap up a very impressive record.  


A better power pop album won't be released in 2012 of that I'm confident, now let's hope it wont be another thirty five years before we get the follow up!




To pick up a copy of 'Little Big Head' - CLICK HERE