Articles / Reviews

Adrian Borland & The Citizens - Live at Dingwalls London (Melody Maker 24-2-1990

date: Feb 24, 1990


 

ADRIAN BORLAND AND THE CITIZENS 

Dingwalls, London 12-2-1990
 

Faith, it seems, is a resonant word for Adrian Borland. It craps up in his first two songs tonight, "No Ethereal" and "Light The Sky", and it' s diffused throughout a set of exquisite generosity, one that hungers with a steady passion. His faith isn' t blind, it' s wide eyed, big-hearted and full of an untarnishable wonder. Borland isn' t afraid to lay his cards on the table and look you in the eye at the same time, a combination Which, believe me, is very rare. 

There' s something very resilient about all this, something very Liverpool, "No Ethereal" in particular (I wouldn't' be surprised if Pete Wylie took a few tips from him), yet doesn't wave flags. It's a bit more personal than that. Adrian Borland & The Citizens might be straightforward, but what distinguished them from the likes of Bradford and a host of other little England nobodies is the fact that they never resort to nostalgia. The songs sound as if they' re happening now, experiences that carry them forward rather than hold them back, and when they question themselves they gain a sense of resolution. There' s no sense of self-pity. Borland sounds as if he' s lived, but retained an innocence throughout. 

They play virtually all of "Alexandria" and give it a new lease of life. "Other Side Of The World" is both intimate and epic, "Weight Of Stuff" release itself from a burden and wakes up in vivid new world, and "She' s My Heroine" both parades and surrenders itself, thrown wilfully into a tangle of haywire excursions. The two solo acoustic tracks in the encore are spellbinding, awesome, unflinching glows in the dark that come close in beauty to Sylvian' s acoustic version of "Ghost" . This dignity is earned, never assumed, and it's a joy to hear. 

JONATHAN SELZER 

PS check out the advert which says Boreland instead of Borland! ;-)

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