Rating:

5/5

Verdict:

Legendary British guitarist and folk-rocker gets things off his chest

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Here's a safe bet: veteran English folk-rocker Thompson won't be opening for Sting at the Mission Estate concert in February, nor at any time in the foreseeable future.

On this flinty and tough-minded album - all new songs recorded live on tour in the States with his punchy little band - he skewers Sting for his vanity, pretension and arrogance on the abrasive

Here Comes Geordie

: "The mirror's his best friend ... in his private plane, come to save the planet once again".

It is just one of many high-points on an album notable for its live energy, focused anger (financiers are the target on the opener

Money Shuffle

), economic but razor-sharp guitar solos, and vocal aggression (which sounds like he's a conduit for Nick Cave on

Crimescene

).

On the few ballads and slower numbers (the thoughtful

A Brother Slips Away

, the end-of-the-affair

Big Sun Falling in the River

) Thompson allows some respite from the white-knuckle anger and acerbic passions.

At 61, Thompson might have been slowing down - but this exceptional, dark and committed album (which comes in a limited edition with a disc of acoustic demos) shows him to be in top form.

And clearly not worried about whether he'll ever be offered a gig opening for Sting.

- TimeOut / www.elsewhere.co.nz