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Kimberley Rew | Essex Hideaway (Bongo Beat)
Kimberely Rew has been making little-known but valuable contributions to the lives of artists and listeners for nigh on quarter of a century. He first came to prominence as guitarist with the legendary Soft Boys, while not a lot of people know he was once Walking On Sunshine with Katrina and The Waves and wrote Going Down To Liverpool for The Bangles. So, all in all, Rew's had a rather diverse career. 'Essex Hideway' is his fourth solo outing, and probably his most distinctive, as if he has distilled all his influences onto one CD. A touch of The Kinks, a dab of Blur, traces of trad folk and a smattering of classic English music-hall whimsy inform the twelve tracks. There's more than a dollop of humour there, too, as Rew half-sings, half-talks his way through the album. Instrumentally, he is assisted by a stellar cast of backing musicians, including Don Airey on keyboards and drummer Dave Mattacks. 'Essex Hideaway' is a definitively 'English' album, with both feet planted in a sixties-smeared past of striped velvet trousers, moptop fringes and vaudeville.

John Stacey
February-April 2005