At 68, and now clear of colon cancer, Womack’s voice is deeper, earthier and more weather-worn than before as he conveys more emotion in every non-verbal rasp than other pretenders manage in a decade. The surprise is the accompaniment – an ultra-modern sheen of electro and skittering percussion that has the fingerprints of Albarn and co-producer Richard Russell all over it.
Having put aside their widely publicised differences, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, David Marks and Bruce Johnston have reunited for a Beach Boys tour and their 29th studio album, their first in 16 years. The record ticks most of the boxes a fan might expect – surf-soaked guitar riffs, vocal harmonies, piano ballads and odes to music itself – but the glue that used to hold the boys together seems absent, leaving a distinct lack of magic. Nonetheless, That’s Why God Made The Radio is a pleasant addition to the band’s extensive catalogue, but does not quite live up to last year’s superb reissue of the long-lost Beach Boys classic, Smile.