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Andy White Andy White
Album: Imaginary Lovers
Label: ALT
Tracks: 12

It's been two years since Melbourne based, Belfast born singer songwriter and poet Andy White released "How Things Are", a chronicle of sorts of a marriage breakup, a mid life crisis put to music if you will.

What then comes after?

The answer is "Imaginary Lovers" twelve tales of a life reborn, of starts, stops and uncertainties. Of moving on, on looking back, of desires, of longings, of love. Stories that express situations, being in the right place at the wrong time, of work life balance, of the efforts you make to keep a relationship alive - can they ever be enough?

Twelve tales written from the heart, lyrics that drip poetry as continually as a tree drips sap at the coming of Autumn. This is music that takes you on a journey, sometimes a path of pathos, an exhilarating sadness, before caroming into the carefree joy that only giving your all can bring.

From the Indie-rock opener and the confused messages we give out on "Half Time for You And I" to the singular focus of "Every Time I Look Around" you feel at one with the songs, you associate with the feelings in a good way.

"Nonchalant" you're acting cool trying to play it down, scared perhaps to commit. You ask without commitment is there love? Andy says "I remember that evening / Feeling the spark / Of you losing yourself / Somewhere close in the dark" before finishing "Oh we were good / But we could have been great / We were good good good / But we could have been great". It's just one of the many pop hooks that are guaranteed to have you singing along by the second listen.

Long distance love and missed chances are dissected in "Lonely International Guy" which together with the catchy acoustic guitar driven "Anywhere With You Babe" extols the lengths and efforts that we go to try to make relationships work.

For me though the standout track has to be "The Only Thing Missing Here Is You". Stripped back arrangement, a piano that tolls like a plaintive church bell, a vocal that is so full of longing describing a flat full of beautiful objects in a prose that paints pictures of Rembrandt quality. Despite all this comfort and luxury the repeated message is that it all means nothing without you (and I still can't get the image of "You've got a fantastic shower / Stood in it for an hour / The only thing missing here is you" out of my head).

And as quiet and melancholy as that mood takes you, it's immediately blown away with the heavily electric rocker "And I Want You", raw passion personified.

"Imaginary Lovers" concludes with "Everybody Wants Somebody" it's inclusive, it's true.

It's also true this cd has been continually on play since it arrived two weeks ago, it's very hard to move on to anything else, you just want to hear it through "one more time".

"Imaginary Lovers" is released on the 4th November as a new album but as this is also Andy White's 30th Anniversary of his first LP "Rave On", all twelve albums including this one are being wrapped up in a box set with an 80 page book to accompany them and in addition a 16 date tour of the U.K. starts in mid November with Andy White & The Band Of Gold which promises career spanning performances to promote the release.

Ian Cripps