After 15 years of steadily growing success, this is Lister’s first album on his own label – time for a statement, you’d think, of who he is. One thing he isn’t is wild.
There’s a tastefulness to his arrangements that stifles excitement, most disappointingly on Broke, a recession lament that nails who’s to blame but can’t make you feel the human cost (listen to last year’s I’m Done Cryin’ by Lister’s old tourmate Robert Cray for that). But as that subject suggests, his writing also strays from the blues-rock straight and narrow.
Free is a heartfelt tribute to a late friend, while Possession drops you into a pub pool game at the end of the night as the sexual paranoia mounts. Hyde 2612 is that bonkers beast, a time-travel blues, inspired by TV’s Life On Mars. There’s a comfortable purr to the playing throughout which won’t raise a sweat, but sounds honest to the man.