For David Kitt fans, much seems to depend on the Dublin singer-songwriter's moods.
'Small Moments' introduced him as a creator of warm acoustic tunes with a subtle undercurrent of electronic sounds. He broadened this niche with the endearing musical pictures of modern life in Dublin and abroad that made up 'The Big Romance'. Many people seem to think Kittser then lost his way on 'Square One', a tuneful collection of songs that spoke of little but the joys of love.
After being dropped by Warner Bros, Kitt returned with a covers album, 2004's 'The Black and Red Notebook'. It was an enjoyable, laid-back musical journey through the singer's own record collection that nonetheless commanded little repeat listening, save for his beautiful take on Jape's 'Haunt Me'. So 'Not Fade Away' appears after two inward-looking collections that left Kitt looking like he had a point to prove.
It opens gently with 'One Clear Way' and the rainy day mood music of 'Grey Day'. The tuneful and warm 'Sleep' is an early highlight that combines acoustic, electric and electronic like all the best of Kitt's work. 'I Know the Reason' is angrier and snappier, ending with an electric guitar fuzz-out that creates more distance between 'Not Fade Away' and the love-filled music of his last album proper.
'Nothing Else' burns slowly against a backdrop of urban sounds that are reminiscent of Kitt's first flourishes on 'Small Moments'. Brooding guitars on 'Wish and I Won't Stop' give way to another highlight, 'Guilty Prayers, Pointless Ends', in which Kitt plucks a delightful acoustic line backed by strings that ends with a refrain that has the singer wishing the party would never end.
This ties in directly to the fast-paced tale of debauchery on 'Say No More', which reminds us that one of Kitt's strongest lyrical suits is telling tales of night life in Dublin town. The album ends with the country-sounding 'With You', which combines old-sounding piano notes with a banjo and plaintive vocals of love lost.
Daytime radio won't warm to 'Don't F*** With Me' for obvious reasons, but neither will the poppy lead single prevent Kittser's fans from cherishing what marks a strong return to form for the singer.