A difficult one, this. I’ve been a fan of Kory Clarke in all his many and varied guises over the years, through the good and the bad times; the bad times have been many, but even then I’ve never found myself looking at my watch when a Warrior Soul or allied artist album was playing. That’s all changed with the band’s new album, Out On Bail.

This is doubly perplexing because at least two of Warrior’s Soul’s recent albums – Back On The Lash and Rock n’Roll Disease, not to mention the band’s covers album from a couple of years back, Cocaine and Other Good Stuff, have been bona-fide ripsnorters. But here, on Out On Bail, Clarke and company meander aimlessly through eight tracks that for the most part are just husks of what has come before.

Second track, One More For The Road, especially, carries all the charm of an afternoon drunk weaving his way down Kilburn High Road with his trousers round his ankles – directionless and messy, and bound eventually to collapse in a pool of it’s own filth. Not a pretty sight. Or sound, as it goes…

That’s the nadir, and there are moments where the old flame can still be seen to flicker – opening track We’re Alive and the title track, for instance, but for the most part this is as inessential as Clarke has sounded in a long, long time. Even some nice guitar work from Dennis Post can’t save matters (in fact it may be coincidence but the flat nature of the production seems to neuter the contributions of Clarke’s backing band in a fashion not seen for a while), as a succession of low impact filler parades past the ears.

Hopefully this is a glitch, temporary in nature, and normal service will be resumed soon. It’s entirely within the context of Clarke’s persona and career to release anything he pleases and damn the torpedoes (where torpedoes = dour reviews from tired old hacks like me), but I don’t think I’ll be around to witness another album like this in the future.

Out On Bail releases on March 4th.