Book of Lightning
The Waterboys have been through countless lineup changes since the global success of 1985's This is the Sea, and they've dabbled with various musical styles along the way. The constant has been the guiding hand of singer-songwriter Mike Scott.
It's been seven years since the band released new material - the time in between has seen various forms of the Waterboys touring the world and a CD put out that featured previously unreleased material from their Fisherman's Blues sessions.
The cynical among listeners might suggest that the lack of output was due to the wildly talented Scott having gone to the well one time too many. Not so. Book of Lightning shows there's plenty of life left in the Waterboys yet. They've backed off on the fiddle and cranked up the guitars - and sound a whole lot better for it.
Scott's brand of Celtic rock comes at you blazing and his richly evocative - and dryly humorous - lyrics couldn't have sounded better. As always, Scott isn't averse to poking a little fun at himself - and that helps lighten the load when his swirling imagery begins to get a little too much.
There are moments of pure brilliance, none more so than on Everybody Takes a Tumble - a wild ride that matches the band's finest moments - while The Man With the Wind at His Heels allows Scott his trademark lyrical flourishes.
Although there might be some examples of a band going through the motions - She Tried to Hold Me might have been better left on the cutting-room floor - Book of Lightning has enough going on to mark a welcome return to form for the Waterboys.