The Waterboys – This Is The Sea

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Album Review by EDF

Is it me or was music more exciting back in the 1980’s. I mean when an album came out it was big. Big as in it sounded big with its big production, big lyrics and generally it was more enjoyable. This reissue of The Waterboys classic 1985 album THIS IS THE SEA is just that. At the time you could say that The Waterboys were a European version of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band even though the inspirations for this release came in the shape of The Velvet Underground and Van Morrison’s ‘Astral Weeks’.

The trumpet intro to DON’T BANG THE DRUM is still one of the best album intros to be experienced. With this track and WHOLE OF THE MOON, they both showed that Mike Scott could write successful commercial hits. THE PAN WITHIN is epic throughout due in part to a soaring violin solo taking the song to new heights. There are no fillers to be found here and the only thing going against this album is the production which, in parts, sounds slightly dated, but when music is this good, who is going to pay a blind bit of notice to this anyway.

The bonus CD features at least 7 previously unreleased tracks of various quality. Some of them range from the average BEVERLY PENN to the bizarre Mike Scott answer-phone message from 1985 I’M NOT HERE. We are also treated to a longer version of MEDICINE BOW, the first ever live version of THIS IS THE SEA and a rough mix of SPIRIT.

Going by what is on this bonus disc, it is interesting to listen to what might have been. There is no doubt that these tracks would not have made THIS IS THE SEA a better album than it already is.

6 stars