Essex Hideaway

(Bongo Beat)

Yeah, you know Kimberley Rew. He used to play guitar for Cambridge obscure legends, the Soft Boys. He wrote hit songs (“Walking On Sunshine,” “Going Down to Liverpool”) with Katrina & the Waves.

Well and good but I want you to forget all that – it’s all in the past. This is the present and Kimberley Rew has delivered perhaps the album of his life. Really.

Where do I start?

How about the tongue-in-cheek, mildly irrelevant ‘hymn’ that is “Bless this Album”? What a way to kick off a masterpiece of an album that is a veritable treasure trove of pop gems of every imaginable kind, a wonderful creation that succeeds at every height it aspires to.

Psychedelic folk-rock? Check out the trippy “Pheonixstowe” especially with its Gilmouresque lead solo. Music hall vaudeville? How about the seriously funny “Short Smart Haircut”? Jangle pop? “Jerome K Jerome” sounds like it belongs on that Soft Boys reunion disc, Nextdoorland.

You get the idea –the jazzy “That’s Soft Boy” (geddit?), the sinister rocking “Ballad of the Lone Guitarist,” the folky “Arterial Road” and the rootsy title track all contribute to a truly incandescent experience.

So, yeah, you know Kimberley Rew. He’s the man who has just released one of the most important albums of 2005. A+