Hue and Cry: POCKETFUL OF STONES Album Review

Pocketful of Stones by Hue and Cry Album Artwork

Despite its deeply affecting lyrics, POCKETFUL OF STONES tends to blend into one long journey

Following the success of the reimagined REMOTE: MAJOR TO MINOR (2014), platinum-selling duo Hue and Cry release their new studio album POCKETFUL OF STONES.

Formed by brothers Patrick and Gregory Kane, Hue and Cry are a soul/jazz/pop duo who first burst onto the UK music scene in the late 1980’s. Best known for their 1987 hit single LABOUR OF LOVE, the brothers have sold in excess of two million records worldwide to date, performing alongside acts like U2, James Brown, Madonna, Al Green and Van Morrison to name but a few.

POCKETFUL OF STONES is Hue and Cry’s 14th studio album and their first album of new original material since 2012’s HOT WIRE. The 12 track record is similar in style and feel to their debut album SEDUCED AND ABANDONED (1987), with the Glaswegian brothers reflecting on politics and love, as well as parenthood and self-appreciation.

The opening track IT HAPPENED HERE and the subsequent THE WAY SHE FLIES immediately set the tone for the album full of masterful ballads and anthems, with a heavy emphasis on strings and backing vocals featuring in almost all of the tracks.

Hue and Cry are clearly talented songwriters and each song tells a story. EASY STREET, WHEN WE’RE NOT STRONG and EDGE OF THE WORLD chart a tumultuous relationship with politics, self-reflection and love, while the title track POCKETFUL OF STONES examines the pressure of surviving in modern society when time is running out.

Family is also a recurring theme with LET HER GO, a track penned in tribute to Pat’s youngest daughter Eleanor (who also duets on the track) flying the nest, clearly written from the heart, even if it does feel a little too sickly sweet in parts.

Yet, in spite of the deeply affecting lyrics, the similarity between the tracks, both in style and arrangement, mean the songs tend to blend into one long journey. The dynamic shifts in mood and Pat’s soulful vocals make for an enjoyable listen but overall, do little to excite and after a while, you’re crying out for a change in tone.

That said, there are a couple of tracks which stand out, most notably BEAUTIFUL CONSTRUCTION and DEEPEST SPACE, both of which build to a beautiful euphoric chorus with orchestral elements performed by the Glasgow String Quartet.

2.5 out of 5 stars

POCKETFUL OF STONES* is released on 1 September 2017

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