(2016) Practice

The Clang Group

... read moreLegendary producer Clive Langer's career was certainly long enough and full enough of great work that he could have pissed off to an island somewhere and wasted the back half of his life telling Morrissey and Madness stories to tourists, but instead, at the age of 60, he formed the Clang Group and...

36′:47″ 11 Songs

1
The Clang Group
Concertina
2:42
2
The Clang Group
Acre Lane
4:58
3
The Clang Group
Amsterdam '74
3:46
4
The Clang Group
I'm Sorry
2:39
5
The Clang Group
Bike
3:21
6
The Clang Group
Had A Nice Night
3:18
7
The Clang Group
Heaven Calls Another Name
2:57
8
The Clang Group
Picture Postcard Paradise
3:48
9
The Clang Group
Knock Me Off
2:41
10
The Clang Group
Out Of Time
3:32
11
The Clang Group
No Change (Bonus Track)
3:05
Released 30 September 2016, Domino Recording Co Ltd

Review

Legendary producer Clive Langer's career was certainly long enough and full enough of great work that he could have pissed off to an island somewhere and wasted the back half of his life telling Morrissey and Madness stories to tourists, but instead, at the age of 60, he formed the Clang Group and became the frontman of a rock band again. As a quick refresher on Langer, he and Alan Winstanley formed one of the most successful production teams of the '80s -- two of their timeless works are Robert Wyatt's "Shipbuilding" and "Our House" by Madness. Not to mention the deathless "Come on Eileen." They did some cool stuff after that, like working with They Might Be Giants, and also helped Bush become popular. Nobody's perfect, right? Fast forward to 2016 and Practice, the first Clang Group album. Working with a crack band that includes Roxy Music's Andy Mackay on sax and nimble-fingered John Wood on a variety of keys, Langer turns in a batch of songs that are very reminiscent of his old mates Madness. His alternately gruff and pleading vocals tell detailed tales of city life, the band rollicks and jumps behind him, and at least half the tunes have the kind of chummy hooks Madness were known for. Suggs even turns up to lend his vocals to "Had a Nice Night." The rest of the album has a nicely nostalgic feel to it, as if the Clang Group were among the lucky lads who were able to swing a Langer and Winstanley production. It swings between loose-limbed rockers like "Knock Me Off," grinding, guitar-heavy tracks like "Amsterdam '74" that put Mackay's full range of swoops and squawks to full use, and fun songs that give off an Attractions minus Elvis feel. "Acre Lane" is the best one of these, and Langer's quick wit and friendly vocals give it warmth and soul that's hard to ignore. Practice could have just been a cheesy exercise in pointless nostalgia, but it's pretty much the direct opposite of that. The record pulses with good ideas, bubbles over with the joy of musicians playing music they truly love together, and, most importantly, is filled with great songs that stick like glue. Clive Langer has been involved with more great records than most people in the music biz could even imagine; now he can add Practice to the list. ~ Tim Sendra