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By Larry

Source: Q

Writer: Rob Beattie

Date: Aug 1994


It's hard not to feel sorry for Gilbert O'Sullivan. The short trousers, flat cap nonsense that was his early image disguised a songwriter of unusual depth and range, while legal wrangles saw him tucked up like a kipper for most of the '80s. Here, the title is a largely superfluous reference to the cartoonist Larry, and the record is distinguished mainly by its use of solo piano with orchestra and choir, but no band.  Stylistically, it's a return to the days of his debut album, Himself, but whereas that trod a fearlessly sentimental line, the songs on By Larry rely too heavily on whimsy and wordplay. He's still got something going on here, but there's no focus and no real sense of direction.


Rating 2 out of 5

Rob Beattie