This has proved to be quite difficult to write. This album is honestly stunning so how do I communicate that without sounding like some kinda drooling eejit ?
2022 was a damn good year for new albums. I usually struggle these days to find more than 2 or 3 new releases a year that catch my ear but this one joined albums by Ian Prowse, Rammstein, Lee Bains & The Glory Fires, John Mellencamp and Erica Nockalls to make 2022 a great year for new music.
When Miles first sent it to me this album was titled “Lucid Is As Lucid Does” but that changed by the time of release. Recorded with a core band featuring Wonder Stuff members Pete Howard, Tim Sewell and Mark Gemini Thwaite there are also appearances from invited guests including Phil Hurley (Gigolo Aunts), Penfriend (aka She Makes War), Rat (Ned’s Atomic Dustbin), Morgan Nicholls (Senseless Things, Vent 414) and Billy Duffy(Vent 414, oh and The Cult).
At it’s starting point Miles has said this was almost an album called ‘Everything’s worse’ but as the songs started to appear he said
“I’ve done what I always do, I’ve written about what’s happening around me and what has happened to me in my past. I’ve endeavoured to make the music as uplifting as I ever have as I try to figure out what’s going on in my head, and you know what? Given all of the negativity I’ve just talked about, I’ve come to accept that we live in a constant state of flux. Things can and will change.”
After talking about all the guests on this album the guest appearance that I like most on this album is Glen Johnson’s Saxophone. We first hear him right at the start on “I Used To Want It All”. I remember first hearing it and thinking “this is really gonna surprise some people”, those who think they know what Miles is gonna sound like are going to be seriously surprised. Glen and his sax are there from the off. I love a saxophone, years of listening to Detroit soul records and the E Street Band have ingrained that sound into me (the fact that Glen also plays for an E Street tribute band also means his style has something of Clarence Clemons about it) and to hear it on one of Mile’s songs pleased me greatly. I’ll repeat this song is VERY different for Miles and it fair blew me apart when I first heard it. It’s right up there with the very best he’s ever wtitten, trust me, I was a Roadie…
Second song “And She Gives” is a beautifully written tribute to a dear friend of ours who did something so utterly selfless for a friend of hers that it still makes me tear up when I think about it. Title song “Things Can Change” introduces Penfriend on backing vocals. An uplifting song of hope and getting to work.
We encountered “In My Sights” on “The Custodian”. It was written with another friend, Luke Johnson, during lockdowns and I think this is the 3rd different version Miles has released. “Lucid Is As Lucid Does” introduces another guest. You absolutely know that it’s The Cult’s Billy Duffy when he makes his entrance at 2 minutes and 27 seconds. I said before that I’m not a fan of guitar solo’s but this ain’t no solo, it’s BILLY DUFFY !
Side 2 starts with the quite wonderful “A Picture By A Stranger”. I remember the times and the girl and the aftermath and this song is a perfect round up of all that. Glen Johnson and his Saxophone are back and the chorus is a killer too. “We Can All Do Better” features Morgan Nicholls and Pete Howard…it’s Vent 414 baby and there’s something we never thought we’d get again.
Were it not for “I Used To Want It All” then “This Descent (Someone To Save Me)” would likely have been my favourite track here. Glen and his Sax are back which can only be good and again we have a chorus anyone would be proud of. “Teen Valentino’s” evokes the atmosphere of “Kids From The Green” from The Wonder Stuff’s “30 Goes Around The Sun”.
It all rounds off with a tip of the hat to Jah Wobble and PiL on “Que Viva La Soledad” as Miles brings back Mr Duffy and Morgan to play some Vent Mk1 pop-tones.
I’m sorry if all of this was just stating the obvious and leading you through the tracks but I said earlier I found this one difficult to write about. It’s so fucking good you should just go buy a copy (if you haven’t already) and sit with the lyrics and Milo’s little intro notes to each song and just lose yourself in this wonderful, wonderful record. After I gushed a couple of days ago about his 11 year creative roll Miles said of this album at the time of release that it would be his last
“I can’t imagine ever knuckling down to do something like making a record again. I’m leaning towards change…I’m not sure I feel the need to communicate with the world anymore. I want things to be quieter, I want my life to be calmer, and I want to rid myself of the anxieties that have plagued me my entire life.”
But d’you know what ? Things can change…
Things Can Change - https://youtu.be/nYp9Si8MBTo?si=ezj-KQJ0CzlLJvoU