If you don't know what you're getting into here, the Humblebums' first album is culture shock a go-go. Billy Connolly, after all, is best-known as an extraordinarily hirsute comedian whose pop fame rests on a U.K. number one dismantling Tammy Wynette's "Divorce" and a follow-up mangling the Village People's "In the Navy." Then there's Gerry Rafferty, who we associate with gentle, catchy, soft folk-rock vibes like "Stuck in the Middle With You," "Star," and "Baker Street." But put them together in a single unit, and the pair is barely distinguishable. Barely. Seven songs apiece see Connolly touching at least a light vein of dry humor (his fine singing voice is more of a shock); "My Apartment" is a belicose take on Al Stewart's bedsitting-room phase and "Mother" is a wryly observed piece of childhood nostalgia which just happens to pack the kind of freakish guitar solo which wouldn't have disgraced Strange Fruit -- Still Crazy before all those years, indeed. But the mood is restrained, the sentiments are sensible, and there's a not a wee swearie in sight. Rafferty, too, is self-absorbed (although that's probably not a surprise) with songs which wander sadly around the backyards of love, kicking cans and wondering where the time all went. "Keep It to Yourself" ranks alongside any of his best-known compositions and "My Singing Bird" is up there with some of his softest. The important thing is, at no point does one listen to the record and start imagining chalk and cheese. Open up the Door is not an album which will set your life afire; rather, it's gentle, warm, and unassuming -- a lovely listen in the wee small hours. And there's not a saxophone solo in sight. Dave Thompson, Rovi
- Psychedelic/Garage, Folk/Country Rock, Pop/Rock
- Psychedelic, Singer/Songwriter, Baroque Pop, Folk-Rock
- June 21, 2006
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