The new album is a funfair ride of dizzying choruses and dark, bleeding ballads. Mark Ronson’s brass swaggers joyfully through Welcome to the Ball and the bagpipes at the end of Candles are enough to make a grown man cry.
The voice is as pure as a choir boy or edgy and vengeful, depending on which song you’re listening to. Full of verve, if a little frayed by life, Rufus sings about love like a man who’s lost the receipt.
If Rufus wrote great songs before, and he certainly did, then he’s honed his craft, polished the silver and sharpened his walking cane to a deadly tip. Like a slightly debauched party in a glittering stately home, this album feels so richly produced it’s almost decadent.
And he made bagpipes cool.