We've been spoiled by Steve Diggle
releases, but the too-average Some Reality is a letdown in comparison to Flag of Convenience
's Northwest Skyline, Exiles, and Diggle
's solo Heated and Rising EP. It's a tad too simple in conception; the mix is uneventful, as the guitars don't jump at you. More telling, there's little material of his usual caliber, and his rhythm section, including old FOC chum Gary Rostock
on drums, needs some more pizzazz. Worse, the second selection, "Playing With Fire," is uncharacteristically bad, stalling any crucial early momentum. This is not what anyone hoped for, if the affable guitarist was to restart a stalled vehicle for the mess of songs he writes that Pete Shelley
and company don't record. All that said, though, with lowered expectations, Some Reality does have its share of modest pleasures. "Where You're From" and "What Else Can You Do" are two acoustic lovely ditties that strongly suggest Heated and Rising's direction was worth pursuing, and a few trademark monster hooks pop up. The one that twice forms the bridge on the second best track, "Three Sheets to the Wind" ("Some reality takes you home/It's hard to swallow/Some reality keeps you stoned/Hard to swallow"), is a perfect example of what he's capable of. Besides, Diggle
's familiar rough-and-tumble, sincere voice is always welcome. So though he might want to work harder on the writing, and invest in a more involved, or at least better-mixed production (and get his ho-hum mates to bust out more, like on "Three Sheets" and the rocking "All Around Your Face," instead of sometimes sounding like a journeyman bar band), here's hoping the well-liked Diggle
keeps at this. When he's good, he's good.