Ian McNabb



"Long-serving maverick on top pop form...undoubtedly his most accomplished and accessible work since 1994’s Mercury-nominated Head Like A Rock...a polished and expertly-played distillation of the music that’s fired McNabb’s imagination over the last 40-odd years...'This Love' is the kind of acoustic ballad McCartney can only dream about these days."  (Tery Staunton, Record Collector).

“Recorded in Ciaron Bell’s home studio in Wallasey Village. The longest time I’ve spent on an album. I was determined to do something different and let Ciaron have a lot of input. I didn’t want it to be an acoustic record or a rock’n’roll record, but something else. I think we achieved what we set out to do. My favourite since Merseybeast.” IMc 

[UK CD] Fairfield Records FAIRCD 009 

Track Title Composer Time Notes
1 Great Things R.I. McNabb 6:08
2 Empires End R.I. McNabb
Ciaron Bell
3 All About A Woman R.I. McNabb 6:04
4 This Love R.I. McNabb 4:51
5 Stormchaser R.I. McNabb 4:32
6 New Light R.I. McNabb 4:18
7 Pinin' R.I. McNabb 4:29
8 I Can't Help It If I'm Great      R.I. McNabb 2:59


Produced by Ian McNabb and Ciaron Bell
Mastered by Mike Cave at Loft Mastering


Recorded at Circular Manor Studios, Wirral (January - June, 2009)


The 26th April sees the official release of the latest studio album from one of Britain’s most consistent song-writers: former Icicle Works front man, Ian McNabb. For some McNabb is best known for the series of innovative and eclectic albums and singles he produced in the 1980s as one third of The Icicle Works – songs like "Love is a wonderful colour", "Birds Fly (Whisper to a scream)", "Evangeline" and "Understanding Jane" earned him an army of devoted followers though rarely the chart success that the songs should have earned.

For others, McNabb is best known for his Mercury Prize nominated 1994 album "Head Like a Rock", much of which was recorded with Neil Young’s backing band, Crazy Horse. Those who have followed McNabb’s career have heard the rock guitar hero, the acoustic troubadour and the 12-string Byrds-like pop singer and as such may wonder what to expect from “Great Things”.The answer is a unique album, quite different from any of its predecessors though rich with the apparently effortless, timeless melodies and great vocals that you would expect. No lead guitar heroics here. Ian McNabb is mostly on the acoustic guitar (and some bass) but it isn’t like the acoustic album "A Party Political Broadcast on Behalf of the Emotional Party" nor like the acoustic ‘half’ of "Before all of this". These songs are given full arrangements, occasionally with a slightly 1960s wall of sound feel to them (like the penultimate song, “Pinin’”) but often with something entirely contemporary and unusual." "Great Things"

Keyboards come to the fore at times, along with Roy Corkhill’s trademark fretless bass playing. At other times unusual effects are used, such as the vocal effect on "All About a Woman" which also includes a surprising and very effective violin solo. This is more than a collection of excellent songs, it is a beautifully-produced, thoughtful album with a unity that you rarely get these days.

Not for the Nostalgia MarketQuite deliberately, it feels like a vinyl album – about that length, and with the sorts of internal dynamics that albums used to have when they had to be flipped over halfway through. From the hypnotic and beautifully-written title track (which would make a fine follow-up single to the anthemic “New Light”) to the tongue-in-cheek finale (“I can’t help it if I’m great”) this album takes the listener on a great and varied journey. There’ll be no clicking through the tracks on your car stereo or iPod. This one’s an album to listen to as a whole.

The introspective, almost progressive rock moments (such as the jazz-tinged ending to the excellent “Empire’s End”) is reminiscent of some Icicle Works moments, the guitar pop feel to “Stormchaser” and “New Light” puts me in mind of moments on McNabb’s debut solo album, “Truth and Beauty”, but altogether this is an entirely new and different album. So many artists who began their careers in the 1980s are still there (where undoubtedly there is money to be made for the nostalgia market) – but this album shows that Ian McNabb is still moving forward and writing as well as ever. Will some of this music get the radio play it deserves? Will McNabb be on Jools Holland or “New Light” get into the UK Top 40? Who knows?

‘Everything changes when the New Light comes.’

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