Picks and Pans Review: Hello, I Must Be Going!
After 1981's Face Value, which dealt mostly with the dissolution of his marriage, singer-percussionist Collins deals with life in the suddenly single scene in his second solo LP. Things could be rosier. He's still bitter ("I gave it all to you/Now I'm livin' on borrowed time"), and a girlfriend's brother thinks he's a "limpwristed wimp from the other side of town." Possibly as revenge, Collins, 32, a longtime drummer with Genesis, proves that his wrists are anything but limp, thank you, and can dominate nine-tenths of an LP, plus the backup Earth, Wind & Fire horn section as well on three cuts. His repertoire of percussive effects is spotlighted, a bit self-indulgently at times, and is the focus of nearly every cut. Yet in Collins' hands, they can be evocative and eloquent, providing not only the beat (quirky and fun on Like China) but feeling and nuance. There's the stark, primal pounding that makes I Don't Care Anymore so vehement, for instance, and the rumbling undercurrent of brooding tympani in Do You Know, Do You Care? While the E, W & F gang horns in on occasion, they have too little time free from a multi-layered wall of rhythm-centered arrangements. Collins' voice can be touchingly vulnerable, even in his more acerbic moments, which ring of conversations held too late in the night. Now if he would only move his big drum kit back a bit so that we could appreciate his talents as a writer and bandleader too.
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