Back together after a 15-year hiatus, Hootie & The Blowfish have picked up where they left off with their new album Imperfect Circle. Opening track New Year’s Day hits the ground running with guitarist/vocalist Darius Rucker
urging us to ‘forget about our worries, that was yesterday.’ With dynamic guitar riffs and Rucker’s earthy vocals, this drives along at a pace and sets the feel-good tone for the album.
Miss California slows the pace a little and is a clever lament on a lost love and fond memories of warm sunsets and beaches in the Golden State. Wildfire Love, a dramatic anthem featuring the vocal harmonies of Lucie Silvas, was co-
written by Ed Sheeran after a jam-session with Rucker, and other band members have brought in songs they had consider for solo projects including Mark Bryan’s upbeat Turn It Up, with New Orleans horns adding to the party feel.
Hold On is a classy piece of Southern rock from the pens of country music legends Jim Beavers and Chris Stapleton. ‘There is nothing that a little love can’t get us through,’ sings the ever optimistic Ruckers, while Not Tonight is a straightforward love song. Ballads Lonely On A Saturday Night and Why and the rock-steady beat of Half a Day Ahead
are solid country fare. The closing track Change gently reflects on the shifting sands of life and the acceptance that, ‘no one can stop the pages as they begin to turn.’
Imperfect Circle is a great listen and a welcome return for one of the great American country bands. It’s a confident album from a band that has matured in the intervening years. Rucker has enjoyed considerable solo success in this period, developing into a first class front man with his rich baritone vocals.
The album conjures images of the great American outdoors and an open freeway. Enough to make you want to get the top down and feel the wind in your hair while listening to it. Shame it’s November in Britain…