An Appointment With Mr. Yeats

Had he come along a century later, Ireland’s greatest poet might have been its greatest rock ’n’ roll frontman. Such is the idea behind this, the first Waterboys album in five years, a set of 14 songs adapted from poems by W.B. Yeats. Mike Scott, long the singer and driving force behind this Scottish-born band, makes subtle changes to Yeats’ texts, repeating certain lines and trimming the odd word, but by and large, he stays true to the source material, imagining songs of love, sex, God, war and innocence as Celtic rock jams. Because Yeats’ words carry such epic power and beauty, the best songs are the bracing rockers reminiscent of the Waterboys’ “Big Music” ’80s heyday. With its horns and strings, “The Hosting of the Shee” has a stomping Pogues-gone-stadium feel, while “Politics” plays like something Yeats might have co-written with 10,000 Maniacs. The latter finds an old man wondering how he can dwell on weighty world issues when there’s a gorgeous young lass clouding his vision. Lust vs. social consciousness: It’s a classic rock ’n’ roll dilemma—and one of the many subjects that justifies Scott’s risky experiment.


comment closed

Copyright © 2013 M Music & Musicians Magazine ·