Man On The Rocks
What do you do when your days of firm stools are finally behind you?
If you are Shane Filan, and you recently saw your long-time band Westlife come to an end just at the same time as you were declared bankrupt, you pick yourself up, take a deep breath and strike out on your own – and in a very different style to your years of crooning ballads.
Filan declared himself determined to make a positive, upbeat record despite his personal travails, and You And Me essays an eclectic range of musical styles. One Of These Days unfolds around a jaunty ukulele; When I Met You seems to have fallen, unkempt, out of a late-night Irish pub craic session; Baby Let's Dance even flirts with doo-wop.
Lyrically, the entire album is a love-letter to Filan's wife and childhood sweetheart, Gillian. There is not too much reading between the lines to be done in pledges of adoration such as Everything To Me, Knee Deep In My Heart and About You, and while it's occasionally tempting to suggest that the lovestruck pair get a room, the cumulative effect is undeniably sweet.
Ultimately, you suspect that the trajectory of Filan's solo career will resemble that of Mark Owen rather than Robbie Williams – but as a debut, it's a spirited and valiant effort.