57th & 9th

From the jangly guitars and the driving urgency of Sting’s vocals on I Can’t Stop Thinking About You, the punchy opening track of his 12th solo album, it seems Mr Sumner has returned to his rocking roots, following 2013’s The Last Ship, an album that became a Broadway musical. “This record is a sort of omnibus of everything that I do, but the flagship seems to be this energetic thing. I’m very happy to put up the mast and see how it goes,” says the former Police frontman, who will play the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre on June 3. This set certainly nods heavily towards his early-1980s, lute-free output, and the track Petrol Head has more than a little bite to it. But while the British singer growls about taking us someplace we’ve never been before over a revved-up rhythm and screeching guitar, it’s not long before we find ourselves stuck on the road to AOR boredom. Sting’s tribute to fallen rock stars, 50,000, is a radio-friendly stadium anthem of middle-aged blandness while Pretty Young Soldier and the Middle East-tinged Inshallah are just roadkill.