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DETOURS
NO EVIL

A review by Richard Radcliffe

After an impressive Debut, Detours return with an equally diverse selection of songs. No Evil isn’t the acoustic collection that Debut was. There’s far more arrangement here. Drums, bass and piano are included, providing a much fuller, polished sound.

I mentioned in my Debut review that I felt more production would make Detours' songs even better. I definitely think that this CD is therefore a step in the right direction. No Evil has that necessary improvement, and the album is better than the first for that reason more than any other, in my opinion.

Here, also, we have completely original Detours tracks, all written by combinations of the three band members. There is only one former Diversion Ends song this time, but that was written by Sam alone, and I have personally never heard it before. There is only 1 Ez song this time that has been used before – therefore the originality shines through.

Onto the songs:-

Took Words Outta my Mouth
A former Diversion Ends song written by Sam from very late in the band's existence. A very lively and catchy opening, with great vocals, a strong bass and brilliant acoustic guitar work. The fuller production shines through immediately. A song that immediately puts a smile on the face of this listener! With toe tapping brilliance we are off to a flyer.  9/10
 
Someday
Julian writing for Sam, and what a brilliant song! All of Sam's strengths are magnified here in this beautiful ballad. Sometimes a song just gels, with all those performing on it coming together to produce something wondrous. This is an example of all three members of Detours combining to magnificent effect.  10/10
 
Half the World
One of Ez’s best songs, which (like Best Thing on Debut) receives its best performance here. The inclusion of this song was voted for by Sam and Julian, although Ez wished to omit it as it already appears on two of his solo albums, Summers Of My Life and Ezposure (The Acoustic Performancez). New material is all well and good, but when a band can take great material and then somehow improve it – like here – it is worthwhile. In fact in this case it was essential as this is a Detours classic and is such an important feature of their live shows. It’s Sam's outstanding cornet solo that sends the whole production soaring to another world. Shame it comes after Falling, as the bleak emotions could have been split more evenly. Still a great, great song though.  8/10
 
Memory Lane
A very jolly tune from Julian, with echoes of Beatles classics. Catchy chorus, effective verses – it tells a nostalgic story that leaves a glow for the past within. Julian's guitar work has never been better than here, and Sam's voice is used in this recording, which is a good commercial decision, although I have heard the original, unreleased version with Julian on lead vocals and his voice suits the recording too. This one is a real song writing triumph for the quiet man of the group.  9/10
 
Never Felt This Way
A combo piece written by Ez and Ju (they have always made a great song writing partnership) where all 3 Detours members share lead vocals. Ez starts things off, Sam continues, Julian responds. This is reminiscent of their finest acoustic tracks and is a nice drop down, but there is still more polish than the recordings found on Debut. Nice steel guitar work from the incredibly well talented guest musician and producer/sound engineer Paul Adshead. Fine harmonies from Sam and Ez. A true ensemble piece.  8/10
 
It’s Not Right
Another catchy number from Detours' best lead singer Sam. With a steady rhythm provided by guitar, bass and drums, it fairly grooves along. The words are clear, and the solid backing is so effective because it is not confused with unnecessary additional instrumentation. This really is how I would love to hear the uptempo songs from Debut performed - with drums and bass added to the one or two strummed acoustic guitar tracks. I love the surprising discordant notes from the trumpet too. It’s just a lot of fun this one – very entertaining.  8/10
 
Behind Closed Doors
We somehow almost enter Ricky Martin territory here in a surprising turn of style, and yet don't misunderstand me - it is nothing like any of his songs. There is a Latin feel breathing throughout this track though. Julian deals with the lead vocals excellently on his own song that deals with domestic violence. Sam is on muted trumpet and backing vocals, and Ez on backing vocals and percussion. A happy tune, with unhappy lyrics. What a contrast, but what a great song. Another classic Detours song that works really well in concert.   9/10
 
Falling
A steady opening, a gradual build up of angst and emotion with bitterness simmering below the surface. Rare lower register vocals from Sam, nicely softened by wonderful harmonies from Ez. Then onto a higher octave to stress the emotional turmoil. Effective, even though quite a strain for singer Sam Johnson and backing vocalist Ez. But then, maybe the strain is the point to bring over the message. Unusual, but very good.  8/10
 
If You Were Mine
This is the only song that I am not praising. It’s the only song on the album I can’t get enthusiastic about. It’s okay, just the least memorable. It’s another ensemble piece, with each of the 3 members taking their turns at lead vocals. It probably would have worked better with Sam on lead vocals throughout. It may be an album filler to me, but it’s a superior album filler, with strong lyrics and a good melody.   7/10
 
One More Time
A lullaby from Ez to his daughter Nikita, yet it goes deeper than a father singing his daughter to sleep. It is also written from the perspective of someone saying "goodbye" for the last time to someone dying. A wonderful, very moving and loving song in every way. This kind of gentle song suits Ez’s vocals more than any other. The words are from the heart, the singing is very touching. Gentle trumpet, gentle harmonica, gentle guitar accompaniment. I’m moved, I really am.   10/10
 
The variety of the No Evil album is there for all to hear and enjoy. The developed, 'fuller' sound allows all of the songs to be vastly different from each other. Great songs may sound good in any arrangement, but with great production and arrangement they can be absolutely brilliant, as the majority are here. Each band member has his time in the hot seat, and each comes out of it with flying colours. Detours have combined here with Paul Adshead and Erk Brzcarrzcki excellently as a recording unit. As Detours the three members become one, but here five have become one, and we the listeners are the beneficiaries.
 
Here's to their third album. Bring it on, please!!!
 
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