Two years in the making Waking Hours was released in the summer of 1989. Recorded in Glasgow and London with Mick Slaven on guitar, Waking Hours was the band’s first album for A&M records. In spite of broad critical acclaim on its release it was the UK chart success of the third single, ‘Nothing Ever Happens’ in January 1990 that brought the record, and the band to a wider audience.
After a conspicuous absence from the scene Del Amitri return with an album which contributes admirably to the campaign to pick up the threads of rock and roll … harmonica, slide guitar and extensive vocal harmonies set the tone in a collection of songs which draws strongly from influences such as Steely Dan and The Police.
There is a kind of continuity through the lyrics from track one, ‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’ to the final number, ‘Nothing Ever Happens’, which might be summarised as “plus ca change, plus c’est la méme chose”.
A wealth of day to day media imagery and some stark pictures of small town life makes the ideas accessible and direct. A line from ‘Stone Cold Sober’ sums up a feeling pervading the album: “Whole generations thinking of themselves as infidels and popstars; while the bomb looses patience we line up and just lean against the bar, stone cold sober, looking for bottles of love.”
A collage of cliches, but exposed and re-examined, is the raw material from which Del Amitri has constructed this album. It is rich in substance and good to hear over and again for pleasure.
Ellie Buchanan, The Times, 30 July 1989