Martin Carr was initially The Boo Radleys' prime mover and this is his third solo album and it may well be his most accomplished thus far.
He credits it as being his most honest work to date and given that the subject matter is essentially his own mental splintering it is hard to disagree with him.
It would be very easy for this to come across as self-indulgent but he has got the balance just right to the extent that it becomes an education to listen to this album. Many people who suffer from mental health issues would surely understand straight away the experiences that Martin sings about but more importantly, those who don't might learn something as well.
I wouldn't say he has sugar-coated it but he has certainly imbued it with pastel hues in order that we can get to grips with it a little easier. This is mature pop music and let's face it, the boy knows how to write a tune. The music is acoustic/electric/electronic and it could be any or none of these but the production makes for a rich, thick sound.
"New Shapes Of Life" has horns that might be an ambulance heading into the distance. "Damocles" describes a man/mind on the blink/brink with a simple precision that great pop songs have a way of doing. "A Mess of Everything" is pretty self-explanatory and is a classic Beatles/Boos melodic horn tune that not many people do better, if any.
"The Van" is a recurring theme and in many ways the crux of the matter. "Keep on, til the van comes" might just be Martin saying hang in there, we'll get some help but it might also refer to the here and now and to a new found desire to get some work done as it seems Martin is doing fine now. He might just have reached out to some other people along the way as well.