By Chris Gilliver
If I was going to review an album by the physical quality of the promotional material, Fragile would be the finest album of all time. It arrived by special delivery. Inside the reinforced A4 cardboard envelope was a translucent plastic wallet. Inside that I discovered to my delight four different press releases printed on paper where light glistened off the front, and my hands glided across velvety backing. This was the caviar of the paper world fit for royalty and the gods. There was a personal note enclosed too – never have I felt so special.
But I’m not a man open to such bribery…or at least not this sort of bribery. I’m not going to tell you the music is wonderful when it is not, no matter how exquisitely soft to the touch the press release, and, unless you attended high society gatherings in the 50s or 60s, the music is anything but wonderful.
Woefully twee is a more accurate description. Listening to this music is frequently like drowning in golden syrup, or being shat on by a horse that’s only fed sugar cubes. On The Other Side Of The World is sickeningly sweet. Unbearably so, but the album saves itself with the jazzier, more seductive numbers.
Live For Today is a charmingly boozy opener that speaks of drunken summer nights, and Libertango whisks you off to a seedy Parisian jazz club (in my imagination). These are the moments when Fragile finds salvation. Where it tears itself away from the very centre of the road and momentarily finds an edge. These tracks are regrettably in the minority.
Fragile is like the paper that came with this CD, classy, bourgeois, but ultimately a lost effort on anyone who (like me) seeks the darker, edgier, more exciting things in life.
Fragile is for people who aren’t interested in music. I am.