I have always been a Bob Geldof fan. He’s up there with George Best and Glen Hansard as my favourite Irishman; controversial if you know my writing past! I bought the first two Boomtown Rats singles, was a radical disciple of his Feed the World efforts (realising that it was indeed in keeping with my own Christian faith), thought he was brilliant live at Greenbelt in 1992 and have bought all his solo albums on the week of release! Not that the last two were any good but Vegetarians Of Love is a wee gem that I so love going back to and Deep In the Heart of Nowhere, though very much set in the eighties, has some wonderful moments!
Still, the last two have not been his best so should I have risked the new one and would I have had it not been that early part of the year where nothing else is released! I don’t know but I am glad it was and I did! Geldof is in his 59th year as he tells you on the cover but he is vibrant and edgy as ever. Not that he is being innovative and let us face it we are not expecting the 59 year olds to be Sufjan Stevens are we? No, Bob takes all the influences that he loves and adds his own quirky voice and philosophies. There’s a Tom Waits’ megaphone happening on Blowfish, maybe the least successful track, there’s a Crosby Stills and Nash harmony happening on Mary Says and Here’s to You has a lazy meditative George Harrison slide guitar sound. The majority of the songs have a European feel and Vegetarians Of Love’s loose, fiddle feel is the best comparison but the most exciting thing for me is that not innovative worldwide it is new ground for Geldof. Silly Pretty Little Thing would have been number 1 had he released it in the late 70s! Catchy and sunny and radio friendlier than Robbie Williams!
I also love the Godisms from our ardent agnostic secular saint! In his very first solo release This Is The World Calling Geldof sang “There’s so much beauty I wish that I had believed enough to pray” and it would seem that that is a good strap line to his entire catalogue. To Live In Love sees love as Divine and definitive to our human existence, Here’s to You is a literal prayer for friends, family and the earth itself and the funny biographical throwaway extra track has devils and God playing their part in the drama of Geldof’s entire life.