Truth be told I’ve never listened to much of Kyle Falconer outside of this new release. I hate The View and his first solo album passed me by altogether simply because I didn’t even know it existed so I’m going into No Love Songs for Laura, his second solo release, with relatively fresh take on what Kyle Falconer delivers here with no preconceived notion of what to expect beyond what I’ve heard from the last couple of singles.
The album opens strong with Stress Ball, a runaway high energy pop hit with a big sing out loud chorus that just begs to be turned up loud and is prime for a dance remix once Scotland’s club scene is back in full swing.
Next up is Wait Around which follows in the pop footsteps of the album opener albeit with a more subdued, summer road trip feel to it. This was actually the first song I heard from the album and it never crossed my mind for a second that this could come from the same guy who co-wrote Same Jeans.
From my limited knowledge of Kyle Falconer’s history, and as a man who openly admits that thinks that Same Jeans is one of the most horrific songs ever written, Laura is the kind of thing I’d actually expect to come from a more mature version of that young artist from years gone by. Laura feels like a more a modern indie classic in the making that I could easily imagine blowing the roof of Glasgow’s legendary King Tut’s.
Funeral Song and Mother continue slowing the pace down somewhat to the determent of the album’s flow but regardless they’re enjoyable little songs that help highlight the range of Kyle Falconer’s artistry with Funeral Song maybe being my favourite track on the entire album with Mother being one of my least favourites despite the emotional depth of the track itself.
On My Own is another fine entry to the track listing and the pace picks up a little again with Still Here and Miracle Happens which both serve as fun upbeat songs with pop undertones. Listen Lucy is another strong contender for my favourite track on here though and even though it doesn’t try anything particularly new or original, it does tug on the heartstrings.
The likes of Moan and Don’t Call Me Baby (another highlight) take us to Monsters, the album closer, and suddenly I’m left with conflicting feelings. From start to finish No Love Songs for Laura is a really solid album from an artist who still has way more years ahead of him. However, I can’t help but feel that Stress Ball opens the album so strongly and with so much energy that some of what follows somewhat lacklustre despite the high calibre of everything else on offer here. Nothing else really matches that energy or the expectation that you’re going to be in for more of the same leaves me feeling a little let down.
The whole album screams summertime to me even with the heavy nature of some of the lyrics and while I’m sure many will rightfully pay a great deal of attention to the subject matter of the album, and the lyrical content in particular, and how it relates to Falconer’s own life but in all honesty, I don’t care about any of that at the end of the day.
Personal struggles and adversity may be well travelled subject matter for musicians these days almost to the point it has become a cliché, but it never actually guarantees a solid album at the end of it but thankfully No Love Songs for Laura does elevate itself above all that and in the end we’re with a really good album.
by Edward Laing