Album Review: Edwyn Collins – Losing Sleep

The Scottish indie legend ropes in a host of guests but shines brightest himself on one of his best albums yet

To say that [a]Edwyn[/a] is fêted by the UK indie community would be an understatement. The former [a]Orange Juice[/a] man can barely walk down the street without a member of Franz or The Cribs bursting out of a café door and laying down their cape in front of him.

The problem with having turned mentor to those he inspired is that, overborne by the guest spots, his seventh solo album ‘Losing Sleep’ could have ended up being the British indie version of Santana’s ‘Supernatural’. Thank cripes, then, that [a]Edwyn[/a] has worked hard to integrate his studio visitors to fit his own iron-strong vision.

Indeed, he’s struck the perfect balance between musical exploration and delivering the trademark spiky kazoo-ish guitar buzz he forged with [a]Orange Juice[/a]. Most notably on the punchy ‘Bored’, on which he offers a taut cleanliness a step up from OJ’s more cut-loose sound, while on ‘In Your Eyes’ he swerves into different territory, yet remains poised, enlisting [a]The Drums[/a]’ Jonathan Pierce to stand in front of his insanely classic riff and croon like [a]Robert Smith[/a].

Dreamy and classic, yes, but ‘Losing Sleep’ is still fun – [a]Edwyn[/a] knows that [a]Franz Ferdinand[/a] work best with a camp wink and a nudge, so Alex Kapranos gives his smiliest, hip-wiggling “Do do do it again”s on ‘Do It Again’.

It’s been a hard road for [a]Edwyn[/a] since 2005 – and he doesn’t shirk from this lyrically, telling us he’s been “losing dignity” and wondering ‘What Is My Role?’ with [a]The Cribs[/a]’ Ryan Jarman. But ‘… Sleep’’s pedigree makes any suggestion that his reverence is in any way based on reappraisal following his turmoil laughable. He’s made one of the best British albums of the year – that’s why he should be fêted.

Jamie Fullerton