The Waterboys have been around in one form or another now for over twenty years, from the halcyon days of albums like This Is The Sea and Fisherman’s Blues stretching through to 2000’s comeback collection A Rock In The Weary Land. Now Mike Scott returns with his compatriots Steve Wickham and Richard Naiff for this latest outing Book Of Lightning (available 2nd April). Its like they never went away, well it is actually. There’s a more relaxed air to the latest material, of course there is a fair share of erudite titles and lyrics that would doubtless make hippies become semi erect.

Yet somehow there is something in certain tracks like The Crash Of Angel Wings that they just get away with. The energy of years gone by is briefly recaptured, alas its a shame that other tracks like Love Will Shoot You Down weigh the whole affair down with their leaden plod rock sentiments.

Lyrically there is obvious thought in a lot of these songs, I mean listen to Nobody’s Baby Anymore and its like Mike has laboured over just how much imagery he can cram into one piece. Alas that’s where another fault lies, sometime he tries too hard and despite the best intentions the songs trip over themselves in terms of an overburdened word count.

I might sound like a doubting Thomas but there are some highlights most notably in tracks like Sustain which has Scott on particularly introspective form accompanied by some evocative brass work to compliment the mood of the track and if anything this is one of those songs that could actually do something in terms of thawing the most cynical of hearts.

As the album draws to a close its there we start to see some of the stronger material pop its head over the parapet. And a more familiar ‘classic’ Waterboys sound as well. Songs like You In The Sky, Everybody Takes A Tumble and The Man With The Wind At His Heels all serve to justify any of the collection’s weaker moments. Musically there is a greater definition on the latter tracks foregoing a musical density that it present elsewhere and allowing the individual musicians to shine.

In conclusion fans will of course lap this up and love every drop on offer, so for them there should be no hesitation in picking up this album. For the curious or uninitiated it might be an idea to scan back through the band’s discography and then approach this new collection with a little but of trepidation.

For those looking to make night out of The Waterboys music make a note that they are about to embark on a nationwide tour with a date at The Royal Albert Hall on the 11th May.