Lots of anticipation for this one at certain other sites, but I was not really expecting anything great, not having purchased a new Macca LP since...well, never I guess, although I do have a recently purchased Ram and Band on the Run in the collection.
But then I started reading all kinds of positive reviews, and they all seemed to say that this was among Paul's best solo work...EVER. Now, for me, critical acclaim for a pop record is normally like Kryptonite. The louder the critical buzz, the less I like the band (for reference, see early releases by the White Stripes).
OK. Enough of my blathering. This is an incredible CD. If you are looking for a rocking record, this ain't it, but it is some of the nicest, most well recorded music I have heard in a long, long time.
Its sonics will not be confused with a new Steely Dan release, but while those records can sound almost too perfect and in fact, antiseptic, Macca's work here sounds as close to analog is I can imagine coming from a CD.
It sounds dynamic, and not at all bright, harsh, or compressed. Someone will probably publish a wave form putting the lie to all that, but in my room, my gear, my ears, its probably one of the best sounding pop releases I have heard in a long, long while.
Paul is in great voice, and his vocals are mixed upfront, dead center, and with very little if any processing. No lie; sitting dead nuts in the sweet spot, it sounds like Paul is in the room. Incredible sound.
I am not sure that there is any really new musical ground here, and there are a few echos to tunes from Paul's days with that other band he played in during the 60's(!), but I can forgive all that. Actually, what this music most reminds my of is if you took Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and "Summerteeth", put them in a blender with Beck's "Sea Change", made it a little poppier, and had Paul handle the vocals.
One tip: After the last track plays, resist the temptation to stop the disc. About 20 seconds later begins what I guess are 3 studio out takes. The first is not that great, but the 2nd is a really cool sounding piano track, and last is some ambient noise that brings to mind some of the sonic mayhem in "A Day in the Life" mixed with "Tomorrow Never Knows" channelled through Wilco.
Putting all that aside, if this CD does not clean-up at the Grammies next year, I will be shocked. And given Stereophile's affection for "Let It Be Naked" I don't think its a stretch to nominate this release for a future "Recording of the Month".