Steve DagleishSteve Dagleish
Album: Only Losers Write On Bridges
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

"Only Losers Write On Bridges" is a strange album. It's one of those albums that frustrates, well it frustrates me and in many ways that frustration is born out of the way society is rather than anything Steve Dagleish can be held accountable for.

Here's a premise for you, is it better to be a good singer who hasn't got the right internal references to write their own songs with any competence or better to be a good songwriter who hasn't got the vocal impact to deliver a whole album. There are plenty of examples of the former and there at least the solution is simple, go out and find some songs that are better than what you write and make them your own. The second one is more of a problem, with the possible exceptions of Dlyan, Cohen and McCartney, there's substantially less and that's because we as society are more inclined to look for perfection in that space, well unless we can find a counter culture to pin it on.

You don't have to be that far into "Only Losers Write On Bridges" before you are acknowledging that Steve Dagleish is a talented song writer, from the conspiracy theory driven opener, "World Of News", through to the closer "Innocence" this is an album full of well crafted, clever, without being patronising, songs that has seen the world from many angles and has a great talent for getting the songs down.

He is also a producer that is hands off enough to realise that in order to bring out the best in something you might defer and therefore a nod to Sonny Williamson for his lush arrangements and great support of the narrative.

For me, the problem with "Only Losers Write On Bridges" is that occasionally Steve's voice isn't quite able to deliver in the style/sentiment the song demands, it's predominantly in the songs that sound like they should have a little more attack a little more directed anger.

Dagleish is a visual writer, the songs are rich in images and to keep with that metaphor, there are songs here that should be delivered with a pallet knife or better yet a spray can, rather than a fine paint brush.

That said there is plenty to recommend about "Only Losers Write On Bridges", not least the narrative and as I recall, it's often the apple that has a few surface blemishes that often taste the best.

Neil King