One suspects that Elton John’s publicity assault around the release of this album has a lot to do with fellow troubadour Rod Stewart.
Rod the Mod’s comeback album Time helped restore his damaged reputation as a musician rather than a celebrity, something Elt has been doing for the last decade but without enjoying the success Time delivered for his old 70s mucker.
On the first few listens, The Diving Board seems unlikely to deliver the results he wants. Slowly but surely, though, all that changes. Elton’s voice sounds as good now as it has ever done – possibly even better – and Oscar Wilde Gets Out (Ryan Adams-style Americana), the jazzy My Quicksand and the funky Ballad of Blind Tom, which highlights the suitability of his voice to a story song, there are at least three highlights.
That’s without mentioning the more commercial likes of Oceans Away, Voyeur and single Go Back Home, which one can imagine Tom Odell wishes he had written. And when he slips a bit, as on Can’t Stay Alone Tonight, it’s all still rather enjoyable in a 1980s guilty pleasure kind of way.
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