Fifteen years between albums is a Kate Bush-ian level of absence and with the best will in the world, Erin Moran (aka A Girl Called Eddy) isn’t a name that can bridge that kind of break. Her publicity may talk a good game about her self-titled 2004 debut being a cult classic – and in fairness, the beautiful single Somebody Hurt You has received some play over the years – but to all intents and purposes, she may as well be starting from scratch. Let’s not overstate how many people were “long awaiting” this album. There are people starting university this year who were in nappies last time she had an album out.
As if to emphasise the point, the album opens with a spoken “girl, where you been?” The answer’s not far. The title track that follows reminds us what she’s all about – soulful MOR with a bittersweet edge, Aimee Mann meets Nancy Sinatra sometime in the 70s singer-songwriter golden age. It’s hardly revolutionary stylistically, but it’s very easy on the ear and of superior quality.
Jody and Someone’s Gonna Break Your Heart supply the big pop kicks, both swinging along merrily – the former lifted high on a chorus of handclaps and brass, the latter doing its thing to girl-group backing vocals and 50s guitar. Charity Shop Window provides gentle piano and string melancholy – “She saw his coat in the charity shop window / Where the past lives on at a bargain price”. Not That Sentimental Anymore brings moody introspection – “Have I grown up? Or just grown old?” Again, nothing especially profound or unique – but as elsewhere it goes down very nicely, a bluesy trumpet solo setting it off. Closer NY Man pines for its title character to a pleasant countryesque shuffle.
As an album, Been Around doesn’t take much figuring out. You’ll find no leftfield turns. It probably doesn’t have hidden depths. But nor is it simply bland musical wallpaper. It will wash over you if you want, or you can relax into its warm embrace with a glass of red. Either option works.