A clip of David Letterman introducing Scottish rockers Del Amitri performing their 1992 hit “Always the Last to Know” is notable for two things: how youthful Letterman looked back then, and the fact that he’s holding a CD long box (remember those?). I’ve gotten reacquainted with Del Amitri’s music recently when our local used music emporium had several of their albums on sale. They seem like the perfect candidate for the cutout bins; their likable, country-influenced pop was exceedingly professional with occasional moments of brilliance. Despite that, their currency over the years has faded to the extent that the band’s three charting hits from 1990-95 rarely get heard (even the ’80/’90s playlist at the local Safeway, a good barometer of the lesser lights of yesteryear, seems to have eluded them).
The three albums I got were Waking Hours (1989), Change Everything (1992) and Twisted (1995), supplemented with an iTunes download of their non-LP 1990 single “Spit In The Rain.” Generally speaking, it’s good stuff. Not particularly innovative, but warm and reassuring. The hook-filled Waking Hours contained lots of deja-vu moments (I must’ve owned it when it was new), Change Everything (with “Last to Know”) is the most solid and surprising thing they’ve done, and the grunge-influenced Twisted seems overbaked and painfully short on good melodies, perky hit “Roll To Me” notwithstanding. For less than ten bucks, I got a nice little crash course on a band that deserved another look.