Release Date: Mar 22, 2011
Record label: Downtown Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, British Trad Rock
Released in the UK last year but only now getting domestic release, Losing Sleep is Edwyn Collins's first album since a brain hemorrhage put him in the hospital in 2005. Unable to play guitar but with his baritone voice intact, the former Orange Juice frontman delivers a surprisingly upbeat batch of songs that stands with the best of his recorded output. It's fun to hear the man who was aggressively pop during the punk era sound as belligerent as he does on What Is My Role?, which also features vocals by the Cribs' Ryan Jarman.
If ever there were an artist to sing the praises of stubbornness, it’s Edwyn Collins. In the 2008 BBC Scotland documentary Home Again, Collins’ wife, Grace Maxwell, notes that the return of his stubbornness was an indicator that Collins was indeed recovering from two brain hemorrhages suffered in 2005. No one expected Collins to record again, and he could have easily bowed out of the spotlight with a solar system’s worth of deserved indie esteem intact.
Just before writing this review, I was wondering about the extent the title Losing Sleep should be placed in the context of the two cerebral hemorrhages that Edwyn Collins suffered in February 2005. To ignore it in an effort to focus purely on the music would be impossible and disingenuous, but equally, allowing the past five years to dominate in all discussions of the music Collins now makes could easily tread precariously close to the two words that Collins’ wife and manager, Grace Maxwell, was so happy to avoid when her husband first started giving interviews to music magazines and newspapers again in 2007. ‘No wallowing, no patronising’.
An uplifting record without the Lifetime movie schmaltz With the release of Losing Sleep, Edwyn Collins has entered inspirational biopic territory. A pair of cerebral hemorrhages in 2005 nearly killed him, and put anything as superfluous as a music career on hold. But by 2007, he was back on stage. The next year, he began the process of recording of this album.
The 2010 album Losing Sleep is Edwyn Collins' first since the stroke and subsequent complications that almost took his life in 2005. His long recovery was remarkable and the record finds him in fine voice, with undiminished songwriting skills, throughout. Still deeply resonant and rich, his voice is a treasure and to have it stilled would have been a tragedy.
Review Summary: The Lazarus of British Indie takes another step.Some would say it’s a miracle that Edwyn Collins even brings out new LPs anymore. The victim of two cerebral haemorrhages in early 2005, he looked certain to set out on a very long road to recovery. At this point, it was assumed that his stellar music career had finished for good. You know what they say though: “You can’t keep a good man down.” Collins returned just a touch over two years later with the excellent Home Again and his progress in recovery was such that he was able to compliment the album with a smattering of live dates.
There was a certain sense of justice when Edwyn Collins finally landed a surprise pop hit in the mid-1990s with "A Girl Like You", considering the former Orange Juice singer was one of the first children of punk to prominently embrace pop. But there was an even greater sense of injustice when, in 2005, Collins suffered a series of strokes and brain hemorrhages that sent him to the hospital for half a year and left him unable to read, write, walk, or talk. Yet as befits a man tenacious enough to thrive largely in the margins for so many years, Collins resisted the urge to retire and instead began a rigorous regimen of physical rehabilitation.
Released to widespread acclaim in the U.K. in August 2010, Edwyn Collins’s Losing Sleep finally receives distribution stateside, and the album marks a welcome return from one of indie rock’s most charismatic performers. The challenge Collins faced with Losing Sleep was in keeping his trademark, freewheeling snark intact while acknowledging the series of illnesses that both inspired the record and nearly claimed his life.
Since the 2005 double brain haemorrhage that left him in a wheelchair, unable to talk, Edwyn Collins has made a remarkable recovery. He's produced new band Frankie & the Heartstrings and managed a highly creditable seventh solo album, albeit with help from friends/guests including Johnny Marr, Alex Kapranos and Roddy Frame. His ordeal is reflected in absorbing lyrics full of references to loss of dignity and self-doubt, particularly on the Ryan Jarman co-write What Is My Role? These are songs of determination and devotion.
Marsha Ambrosius Love is slow-motion ecstasy when it’s right, and ache and anger when it’s not, on Marsha Ambrosius’s “Late Nights & Early Mornings” (J). Ms. Ambrosius, formerly of Floetry, wrote or collaborated on most of the album’s songs, and she sings them lavishly, full of sultry oohs and ahs and breathy endearments. (Sometimes too lavishly; her version of Portishead’s “Sour Times” goes over the top.) But when she’s betrayed, Ms.
Seventh solo studio album from former Orange Juice frontman. Paul Lester 2010 It's impossible to judge Edwyn Collins’ first album of new material since the stroke he suffered in 2005 (2007’s Home Again comprised songs written, if not recorded, beforehand) separately from his near-death experience, not least because some of the lyrics address what happened. But it is emphatically not a great album just because of the fact of his survival.