Ringo Starr

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 January, 2008, 12:00am

Ringo Starr

Liverpool 8


No one could accuse the ageing Beatle of sitting on his hands of late. This is Ringo's fifth release since 2003's Ringorama, although three of those were live recordings. But unlike 2005's consistent and under-appreciated studio set Choose Love, Liverpool 8 is a mixed bag that tries to tick too many boxes.

Name-checking the Fab Four and ending with a harmonised football chant on the title track doesn't bode well, but things do get more inspired. This is one of four songs on which Eurythmics guitarist Dave Stewart plays - though most listeners would unlikely be able to pick out which ones these are without prior knowledge.

The name Liverpool 8 is a reference to Starr's northern English home city being made European Capital of Culture this year.

Harry's Song contains shades of stripped-down Beatles psychedelia, and ELO-like vocoder, both bobbing and weaving around an acoustic folk melody over which Starr sings and whistles. It's instantly engaging.

Styles meander across the 12 tracks. Pasodobles is a slow-burn Spanish guitar lament; If it's Love That You Want presents toe-tapping pop-rock with gospel harmony.

Elsewhere, Love Is stands out with its orchestrated chorus and Starr's smooth slow-paced vocal delivery, as does multi-vocal thumper Tuff Love.

Ultimately, there are far too many mediocre filler tracks that fail to engage.

However, by no means Starr's best solo effort, there is half a decent album in there somewhere, and the musical diversity holds your interest.