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Justin Currie

What Is Love For

Rykodisc

Del Amitri fans who fondly remember the Scottish band for such uptempo pop-rock hits as "Roll To Me," "Always The Last To Know" and "Move Away, Jimmy Blue" will be slightly perturbed by the melancholic tone of frontman Justin Currie's debut solo album, What Is Love For.

However, even though this record could just as easily have been titled Songs To Slit Your Wrists By, don't be deceived -- much of Currie's Del Amitri back catalogue always had a cynical, glass-half-empty edge and he merely brings that into sharper focus on songs such as "Out of My Control" and "Only Love."

Despite the overriding sense of futility in What Is Love For and the bitterness evident in "Not So Sentimental Now" and the bleak social commentary of the exquisite "No, Surrender," these songs still possess Currie's trademark melodic brilliance and deft lyrical flourishes. And in "Let It Be Me" and "Walking Through You" there's even a glimmer of optimism.

Clearly, the mid-tempo maturity of What Is Love For will alienate some fans of Currie's former band, but to these ears at least, misery has never sounded so good.

Rykodisc: www.rykodisc.com