Ian McNabb
A Party Political Broadcast On Behalf Of The Emotional Party

“Recorded at Monnow Valley, South Wales. Very nearly called Back To Monnow. Damn. Two Waterboys showed up as did Danny Thompson with his big bass violin. Made very quickly due to the fact that I was paying for it. Songs largely about a failed romance. Drumless." IMc

If Head Like a Rock was Ian McNabb's homage to Neil Young & Crazy Horse, here's his tribute to the sound of Young without the Horse. Not quite an "Unplugged" album (there are electric guitars on several tracks), at its best the drummerless A Party Political Broadcast on Behalf of the Emotional Party still has the laid-back, intimate charm of an all-acoustic Young recording like, say, Harvest Moon. Unfortunately, some of the material on Party Political would be better suited to a full-bore rock treatment -- witness the difference between the somewhat lethargic, under-arranged version of "Liverpool Girl" offered up here versus the stomping, anthemic take McNabb released a few years later on his self-titled release of 2001. However, on the majority of Party Political's tracks, the songs do match up with their stripped-down arrangements; this is especially true of the album's many ballads, as well as the spacy, slightly funky "Little Princess" and the funny and well-observed opening track, "Sex With Someone You Love" (and yes, that song title is a Woody Allen reference). While not quite at the level of the Icicle Works' debut album or his previous solo outing, Merseybeast, Party Political ends up being a solid, if uncharacteristically mellow, addition to McNabb's fine catalog of work. ~ Rudyard Kennedy

**** out of ***** -- Q "confirms McNabb as a master songwriter whose grip on pathos...remains as tight as ever."

"It may not sway too many newcomers, but '...Emotional Party' is a manifesto you can believe in." NME.

[UK CD] Fairfield Trading Co. FAIR CD1

[UK CD] Castle Music CMR CD 307 

[UK CD] Fairfield Trading Co. FAIR CD1
[US CD] Castle Music CMAR 690 (Jan 2001)
[UK CD] Castle Music CMR CD 307
[EU CD] Voiceprint BP1

Track Title Composer Time Notes
1 Sex With Someone You Love R.I. McNabb 5:12
2 A Guy Like Me (And A Girl Like You) R.I. McNabb 5:10
3 Loveless Age R.I. McNabb 4:59
4 You Only Get What You Deserve R.I. McNabb  5:01
5 Bloom R.I. McNabb 5:01
6 The Man Who Can Make Women Laugh  R.I. McNabb 4:26
7 Liverpool Girl R.I. McNabb 4:31
8 Absolutely Wrong R.I. McNabb 4:06
9 Little Princess R.I. McNabb 5:55
10 Girls Are Birds R.I. McNabb 2:36


Recorded and mixed at Monnow Valley
Studios, Rockfield, South Wales. Produced by Ian McNabb.
Engineered by Dave Wood.
Originally mastered by Tim Young.

Guest artists include Mike Scott, Anthony Thistlethwaite, and Danny Thompson.

UK version comes in a Digipak, while the US version features a plastic jewel case with additional photos in the insert. 

Reviewed by Richard Peat

Fairfield. Released October 1998. In stores 26 October 1998.

After three rock albums Ian McNabb has taken off his leathers and boots and slipped into a cardigan and slippers. If you've heard and loved all those acoustic B sides then you're in for a treat cos here you get a whole album of them. Yet again Ian has focussed on his icon Neil Young but has moved away from the Crazy Horse era to a Harvest sound. Ian here is relaxed and obviously enjoying himself. This is supported by the fact that this is an independent release on his own label, with no singles planned for release. Strictly speaking this is not an acoustic album as there are electric guitars, but the volume is turned low. The music may be toned down but in fact it increases the depth of the songs. For example "Liverpool Girl" on the '96 demo's CD was a tongue-in-cheek rock number; here it is turned into a melancholy ballad. The addition of Mike Scott's acoustic guitar, Anthony Thistlethwait's mandolin and Danny Thompson's double bass, coupled with a complete lack of any drums or percussion, adds to the emotion of the tracks.

Focussing on the other nine tracks here is a brief resume: "Sex with Someone You Love" is a laid back simple song with a story telling lyric. "A Guy Like You (& a Girl Like You)" is a purely acoustic modern folk song. "Loveless Age" sounds like Dylan, which is supported by Mike's Scott's gravelly backing vocals.

"You Only Get What You Deserve" is an anguished protest song while "Bloom," "The Man who can make a Woman Laugh," "Absolutely Wrong" and "Girls are Birds" offer a range of acoustic numbers with either very positive or blues lyrics.

"Little Princess" is the black sheep of the album which, though still drumless, absolutely swings. With a rhythmic electric guitar echo and the added deep sax it sounds like a Pink Floyd demo. I'd love to hear this live with the full band.

All in all, as the great man would say, "Cool."

14 October 1998. 


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