Edwyn Collins abides by the same physical laws as we mere mortals. Light travels faster than sound- even for him. So it goes that Collins' hit single "A Girl Like You" would come within sight, listed on the international charts, before we heard it in the States. The single, off the album Gorgeous George, went top 10 in six other countries before gaining widespread airplay in the U.S.
But this country catches up fast: surely hitting top 10 of Billboard's Heat Seeker's Chart, inclusion in MTV's buzz bin and airtime on Melrose Place can amend our belated recognition of Collins' genius. Hollywood's gone one further- they made Collins' single the theme song of the new film Empire Records, starring Liv Tyler.
Collins is no amateur. 15 years in the biz enabled the Scotsman to perfect his knack for cogent, satiric lyrics and good swank pop. Think Jonathan Swift as songwriter, a low dreamy voice and Brylcreem; listen... you'll hear Edwyn on his third solo album, Gorgeous George. The songs sound innocent enough, but then again so does the land of Lilliput in Gulliver's Travels.
Collins' new album testifies that he hasn't outplayed his abilities. As a youth he joined with school friends to form the band Orange Juice, and in keeping with Collins' independent spirit, they formed their own home, Postcard Records of Scotland. Said Collins, "That's the premise Orange Juice started out on. It wasn't for glory or riches or honor. It was freedom. Even though it was only pop music." After a six year run and four album releases, Orange Juice split in 1985.
Two years later and still counting, the juices are still flowing. '89 marked the release of Collins' first solo album, Hope and Despair, followed by Hellbent on Compromise in '91. Both received yahoos from the critics and public. Now Collins had the chance to construct his own studio (completed at the end of last year) and practice the freedom he loves. Gorgeous George he self-produced and completed in his London studio; as for the rest, well... turn on your radio, click to MTV and listen for yourself.
Gorgeous George is Collins' first album to be released in the states. And its success brought him to the US for his first visit. In L.A.he got into a bar room brawl (or what Edwyn called "culture clash") involving Edwyn, an overimaginative boyfriend, and the girl Collins never met. Edwyn didn't leave the U.S. untouched. Or unheard. Six weeks later Edwyn returned to tour our country and almost every show sold out.
Then back to Europe, where Collins is documenting his English tour for a possible live album. With help of course from ex-Sex Pistol (now Edwyn's drummer) Paul Cook, bassist Clare Kenny from Sinead's group, and longtime co-conspirator Stephen Skinner on guitar. A follow up single to "A Girl Like You", called "Make Me Feel Again", is slated for a mid-November release.