Album Review, River City People, "This is the World" must have been those big doe eyes, that Spanish bolero hat...uhm...the furrowed brow, glacial rock of Walking On Ice. Point is, I’ve always had a soft centre for Siobhan Mather and the lads, a la RIVER CITY PEOPLE. They’ve returned to the nation’s album racks with their second offering This Is The World. And, no, I’m not about to put the hard critical jackboot into the Liverpudlians 'soft' Rock.

If anything, RCP have successfully hurdled that difficult second album syndrome, to fashion out a fairly varied yet cohesive collection of songs that perhaps won’t take you anywhere you haven’t already been to, but nevertheless, offers you a ride along a picturesque scenic route.

There’s a certain beguiling charm to songs like the wide-eyed, emotive Move A Mountain and The Sea, where Siobhan, singing in a lower register, sounds uncannily like the late Karen Carpenter. Elsewhere Standing In The Need of Love is sinewy, mid-tempo rock/pop with a dash of Celtic flair, whilst a couple of songs, notably Driver are bolstered with a harder, Rockier core, more so than anything else they’ve previously committed to vinyl. However, it’s the emotional depth charge of the stark and self-confessional Hurt You that really had me lunging over to press the rewind button.

Sure, this kind of music might seem wishy-washy to some and if you really wanted to nitpick, perhaps not too dissimilar to other female fronted bands such as TEXAS and THE PRETENDERS (although if comparisons are to be made, then Ireland's IN TUA NUA would be more accurate). But for me, Siobhan has that pure, seemingly effortless, gilded voice that manages to lift even their more mediocre and predictable songs, above the waterline and the memorable well beyond. Grade B+

Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
January 1992
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