2. Return to Us - The Lilac Time
The Lilac Time have been on an extraordinarily long journey. It has, to quote the inner sleeve of 'Return to Us', one that has consisted of 'Poetry and not logic since 1986'.
This could have been their mantra from the start! It's easy to attest for the poetry. It's there, written on the inner sleeves of each of their albums. The lack of logic though? They'll say it's theirs for stubbornly sticking to their guns, ignoring the zeitgeist, not selling out. Sometimes however, it feels that the lack of logic could be that of those tastemakers, bar ITV's 'The Chart Show', that didn't get behind this splendid band.
For those of us who have followed the long (and frequently winding) road of The Lilac Time, it has been a fascinating and frequently enchanting trip. As well as the irresistible folk/pop/country tunes, The Lilac Time are blessed with Stephen Duffy, a songwriter who is smart but never showy, romantic but never saccharin, has flashes of wry humour and that, sometimes, can be so devastatingly honest that the temperature of a room will drop around you.
When 'Return to Us' arrived last autumn, we suggested that it may be their finest album to date. After that initial rush , we still believe that it has the perfect combination of pop smart tunes, quiet contemplation and thoughtful lyrics. We reviewed it here: Lilac Time's Return Journey