Released: July 1989
Charted in UK: February 24, 1990
Charted in US: April 7, 1990
Peak: 95 US, 6 UK, 66 CN, 8 AU
Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.3 UK
Genre: adult alternative rock
Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 45:43
3.894 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)
Quotable: “A delightful blend of left-field guitar-orientated melodies and intelligent poetic lyrics” – Alan De Pellette, Times of London
Awards: (Click on award to learn more).
About the Album:
Having made an album in 1985 that, while critically praised, disappeared commercially, Del Amitri took four years to emerge with their second effort. Perhaps because they retained only two members and that “the post-punk influence of the first…[album] leads it to be so radically different in sound to the rest of their output,” WK “many Del Amitri fans consider Waking Hours to be the band’s first ‘real’ album.” WK That’s fine with Currie, who says “‘I’d really like it to be perceived as a new band; we even thought of changing the name.’” CF
In any event, “Waking Hours arguably represents Del Amitri’s first ‘mature’ record, and was certainly the first to bring them any mainstream success.” WK “With a delightful blend of left-field guitar-orientated melodies and intelligent poetic lyrics,” AD “Waking Hours showcases the rejuvenated” CF “razor-sharp” PC “songwriting talent of Justin Currie” CF “and Harvie’s swamp-thing guitar style.” PC “This time, the critics flocked in droves, and the public started to take notice.” SS
“Owing more now to REM and Mellencamp than to Orange Juice or XTC, Del Amitri's American experience has clearly left a strong impression on them.” RT “Dropping their edgy quirkiness, Justin Currie and the boys…refashioned their sound, and quickly established themselves as a rock band with heart.” SS “The band are all flowing guitars, accordions and hammond organ – very American in derivation, but sweetly inflected through that Scot-pop sensibility.” SP “Hip, clever and faithful to the great guitar past all at the same time.” SP “Waking Hours…is likely to find a welcome in the record collection of anybody who has ever liked Lennon and McCartney, Bob Dylan, Gerry Rafferty, The Waterboys, Prefab Sprout, Hothouse Flowers or Diesel Park West.” SP
“While there isn’t anything strikingly innovative about Del Amitri, the sheer panache with which they go about their work deserves to see them breaking into the essential listening category.” SP It is “an exercise in melodic, mid-temp guitar rock, leavened with folk and country… [and] more heartland fare than nouvelle cuisine.” MR “The songs are simpler and invariably the strength turns out to be in the arrangements, for example Opposite View, Empty or You’re Gone.” RT
“Their sense of melody, however, and of humour, has thankfully remained intact as the charmingly light-hearted first single, Kiss This Thing Goodbye, will testify: ‘And all those times when our lips were kissing/ our tongues were telling lies.’ In When I Want You, they have the perfect follow-up too.” RT
“Waking Hours featured…new guitarist Mick Slaven and keyboard player Andy Alston…[although] Slaven left the band before the album had even been released. He was replaced by David Cummings, who appears on the album’s front cover despite not having played on it. It would also be the last record for drummer Paul Tyagi, who was replaced by Brian McDermott.” WK
Ultimately, the band is really “based around the one-man nucleus of singer-songwriter Justin Currie.” SP His “lyrics are sophisticated enough to stand repeated visits…and brave enough to sustain a level of despair rather than rock bravado.” SP His “annoying tendency to fall back on the occasional unnecessarily obvious hookline (‘Stone cold sober, looking for bottles of love’) may blunt some of the early enthusiasm, [but the band’s] ability to absorb a wide range of musical influences as they carve their own growing niche suggests the second coming for Del Amitri will be a rather more long-term affair.” RT
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First posted 2/5/2009; last updated 9/5/2021.