Sad but true: John Waite failed to deliver for much of the last decade. Prone to re-recording old material and becoming ever more set in his ways, the Lancashire-born former Babys/Bad English frontman seemed way too fond of Californian life to shake himself down and get back to his roots.
But having teamed up with Matchbox 20 guitarist and songwriter Kyle Cook for this first album of original material since 2004’s The Hard Way, that’s exactly what’s happened here.
Rough & Tumble begins with such nimble, seductive ease that one can almost imagine Waite wiping a brow with relief at the return of his mojo. Compositions like Shadows Of Love, Evil and Further The Sky – the latter proposed by his other half, Alison Krauss – saunter along with aimless transatlantic ease, coloured by intensely hummable melodies and the singer’s distinctive wordplay.
This is a gorgeous, immensely satisfying album.