The Return
Reviewed in NFN by Noel Donaldson

I always look forward to a new release by Paul, having heard, probably, all his previous releases. So when I heard he was with Jeannie (his wife), Nic Burrows and Chris Smith in the studio. I was interested to what he was about to release. 

The notes which came with the album read; The songs paint a picture of where we are on the scriptural road-map. Believers in Christ look for his return and pray that the last generation of the church will be as faithful and discerning as the early church were. 

For those who haven’t heard Paul Poulton before, he has a unique style, vocally often multi layered and musically blues, jazz, funk. I had better listen to it as he always surprizes at some stage! Lyrically Paul is a wordsmith, nothing predictable. 

Listening to ‘Every Moment', there are multi layered guitars and chord changes that are surreal! Jeannie’s vocals blend in effortlessly. I am sat here waiting for a guitar solo, which eventually arrives yet departs just as quickly. ‘Too Fast’ sees great counterpointing with the band. The end times are drawing closer and closer, as scripture is interwound in the lyrics.

‘Come Away’ is an interesting song. It’s an invitation to come away from a life lived on street corners, to that of a place of contentment with Jesus. The chorus harmonies are reminiscent of CSN&Y, and just when you get settled with the groove Paul throws in a couple of chord changes. A beautiful song. 

Then we come to ‘It’s Gone Well Past That.’ This is a faster song, featuring (again) great lyrics, and ¬social conversations with a cheeky smile as he points out the differences that have come in to our world. A trait I can see carried forward from many of his songs over the years. 

As ‘Creation Groans’ played, I remembered chord changes he had used previously and it confirmed my feeling that; Yes this can only be Paul. Like wearing a favourite coat to keep warm, you know that everything is good with the world as you listen along. Yes, he is singing about end times and everything that it brings. But, with Jesus, just hold on tight.

‘Valley Of Decision’ reminded me of so many songs, from ‘The Sheep’ to other songs we sang back in the day. And yes, there’s a guitar solo. It’s just a good, happy song. 

‘The Last Days’ is an instructional offering - a reminder to keep on doing what we should, and put across gently. 

‘Jeannie Lowe’ is a simple love song, while the closing ‘Don’t Touch That Dial’ has typical Paul traits throughout. There’s a lush acoustic guitar sound, which is enhanced by Chris and Nic’s accompaniment. Once more, Jeannie’s harmonies blend easily with Paul’s lead. This new album is everything I have come to expect from Paul. It’s a masterclass in chord structures, harmonies and lyrics that make you smile as well as challenging you. 

10/10 Noel Donaldson