Without You I'm Nothing
What makes a second album so much more difficult to write than the first one? Or the third one for that matter? Who knows? Anyway, it almost seemed as though Brian and the boys second album was being slated before it was even unleashed - accusations being levelled included lack of substance, mainstream tendencies and, well, the same old same old really.
Were the whispering voices wrong? Of course they were. 'Without You...' is a gentle, reflective and consistently heart-aching piece of work (at least once you get past the slightly silly first single 'Pure Morning' - which still has it's redeeming features, despite the dodgy rhyming schemes(/slimy themes)).
The masterpiece of the album is undoubtedly the title track, which is through-composed and gently rises to a dizzying height (via some wonderful couplets: "I'm unclean/a libertine/ and every time you vent your spleen/I seem to lose the power of speech/you're slipping slowly from my reach...").
'My Sweet Prince' finds Brian at his most vulnerable, almost wheezing the words "You are the one" over and over... And the air of vulnerability continues into the final track 'Burger Queen', which despite sounding for all the world like an REM song, rounds things off quite satisfyingly. (Although beware if you wait around for a further fifteen minutes, you'll be woken from your reverie by the double-fuzz-bass attack of the bonus track).
Okay, so only rarely does it bounce along like 'Nancy Boy' or 'Bruise Pristine' - but, hey, surely bouncing's a bit childish anyway, isn't it? Far better to wallow in self-pity, confused sexuality and mutual masterbation, if you ask me. (PB)