The Upshot: A natural heir to the Brit rock tradition, with a charm and exuberance that clearly complements that handsome heritage.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Having previously shed his John Wesley Harding persona the last time around and assumed his birth moniker seemingly for good, the ubiquitous Wesley Stace takes a half step back via Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding, presumably a transitory step towards combining the two identities for future referencing. Still, Stace by any other name is as potent as he’s ever been, a master of melody whose attitude and aptitude is fully engaged in the joys of simple, straight forward pop and roll.
There’s no denying the immediate, hook filled charms of “For Me and You,” “How to Fall,” “The Wilderness Years” and “I Don’t Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll,” songs that extol the singular joys of getting into a groove with the object of one’s affections. Melodic to a fault, this new offering continues a trajectory begun two decades back when as a folkie-turned-rocker he first plied his charms and initiated a brand that never ceases to satisfy. Even in its quietest moments — the autobiographical “Hastings Pier,” the lilting “Audience of One” and the sweetly sentimental “You’re a Song,” Stace/Harding maintains his momentum, alluring and enticing to a fault.
Like Nick Lowe, Squeeze and Robyn Hitchcock, he’s a natural heir to the Brit rock tradition, with a charm and exuberance that clearly complements that handsome heritage. Call him what you will, Stace is simply superb.
DOWNLOAD: “I Don’t Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Hastings Pier,” “The Wilderness Years,”