I have one question about this album, “The Piano Demos for This is The Sea”. And that question is Why the photon did nobody tell me about it before?? This is, quite simply, bloody brilliant. I’ve mentioned This is the Sea before, and it remains one of my all-time favourite albums. What we have here is Mike Scott singing demo version of some of that album, plus some songs that didn’t find a place there and have not (as far as I’m aware) been released before, and more. For the most part, it’s Mike on the piano with occasional percussion. And it sounds great. From the opening Don’t Bang the Drum and Be My Enemy, it passes through familiar territory with The Pan Within, an early draft of The Whole of the Moon that’s not quite as bonkers as the more familiar version, but still worth listening to, and a song called Looking for Dickon, which seems to be an early version of Church Not Made With Hands, and also sounds pretty damn nice.
And apart from all that, there’s a whole pile of songs that you more than likely haven’t heard before, which makes this an essential purchase for any Waterboys fan, especially if that fan has a particular affection for the early “Big Music” period of the band. And despite the lack of an actual band to fill out the sound, the music here is definitely big. Mike’s voice is in good form and the piano does the backing job more than adequately.
Good stuff, recommended.