The Unfairground is the new album from Kevin Ayers.

 

A vintage Harvest......hallmarked by it sonic joie de vivre......The Unfairground finds Ayers rejuvenated and stands comparison with his best work. Its A Grand Cru. Mojo Mike Barnes

There’s the bright, airy, deliciously skewed melodies running on one man’s woozy musical rollercoaster. The Sun Simon Cosyns

The results are replete with the languid charm that has been Ayers' stock in trade throughout his performance career, that amiable baritone marked by an amiable world-weariness he muses over the redemptive power of love. ......... The arrangements furnish some of the beguiling aspects of The Unfairground from the strings undulating like a carnival calliope on the title-track and the horns adding a stately mariachi tone to Baby Come Home, to the nightmarish soundscape of piano, eerie strings and squally lead guitars that tracks his fearful reverie in Brainstorm. But whatever the situation, Ayers amenability shines through regardless, a wave of warmth that can lighten the heaviest soul. Uncut-Andy Gill

It is what online bookmakers are to modern day gambling: Love it or hate it but everyone is moved by the topic since it directly affects us all.

The first album in 15 years from the mercurial Soft Machine founder features the contributions of a global troupe of fans, including Teenage Fanclub, Euros Childs, Candie Payne and the underrated Americans Ladybug Transistor. Energized by younger collaborators the results are inspired. Walk on Water is just lovely, Baby Come Home is a charming duet with Bridget St John. The Times-Steve Jelbert

The results are a joy exuding the same charm that has always characterised his best work even when staring mortality right in the face on Only Heaven Knows. Q Peter Kane

Songs are bathed in beautiful string and horn arrangements, the perfect setting over which - in damn fine voice - Ayers pours out some of his most emotional and reflective lyrics. Walk on Water is a peach, as is Friends and Strangers, which could be about death, betrayal or poisoned romance. Run Run Run which, with it's infectious chorus and final trumpet note, leaves you wanting more, as every perfect 10 song, 30 minute album should. Ian Shirley for Record Collector

rich with strings, original ideas, lovely melodies and you realise this album is not about treading in those old footsteps song after song. It's about bringing new and old talent together to make a really lovely sound. OHM Gemma Hampson

As with the best of Ayers’ 1970s work, there is a sense that the listener is entering a self-contained musical universe, which defines itself on its own terms. It is a world of brightness and color......a bridge has been formed between the old and the new—between the 63-year old founding father of British psychedelia, and younger admirers such as Ladybug Transistor and Architecture In Helsinki, members of whom accompany him throughout.....The sheer catchiness of the songwriting lends the material a straightforward initial appeal, which peels away over time to reveal something altogether more subtle and elusive at its core. Stylus Magazine Mike Atkinson A-

what a result! top notch. BBC Charles De Ledesma

Ayers rich baritone settles in amongst the sumptuous instruments leaving the listener in the middle of an incredibly enjoyable experience... a bit like having a bath and a cigarette at the same time.Electric Roulette Mof Gimmers

The Unfairground, his first studio album since 1992 and, more important, his best work since heyday. Over 10 taut tracks, his deep rich voice still defiantly English middle-class vocals grace a beguiling mix of jaunting folk, while poetic lyrics look back over his life and reluctantly accept the arrival of his old age. The Sunday Times Lisa Verrico

The father of the underground........A new album Unfairground …10 songs of quiet weary beauty. The Daily Telegraph- Garth Cartwright

brings to mind the late John Peel, who once said: "Kevin Ayers' talent is so acute, you could perform major eye surgery with it." The Independent Pierre Perrone

 

Ayers has created a warm, wise and wonderfully relaxed work....This is art in the best sense, art you can feel has grown over the years without any commercial pressure. A medley of textural musical pictures which will keep the listener spell bound throughout. Music Express

The songs are poignant and subtle and very much belong in those timeless places: the fairgrounds,boardwalks and parks of the late sixties. The songs also manage to be direct and easily understood ‘ in the now’ - never allowing the listener to feel the self pitying tone one often hears in works created by older artists. Schallplattenmann

Ayers performs this ten song album with consistent, high quality: This may come almost as a shock knowing that they have been recorded by an older artist and puts The Unfairground in the same league as the recent American Recordings by Johnny Cash. If this were Ayers’ last album, it would be regarded as a valuable and dignified final full stop after a long and winding career.Rolling Stone

(top of critic list)

…a mild and unblinking work of art… Jazzthetic

'pop pearls’ ......combined with the string and horn sections of ten sunny melodies, creates a perfect soundtrack to an Indian Summer. Spiegal

The masterly conceived music of The Unfairground breathes remembrance in a very calm, easy way, much as the road movie ‘Old Joy’ did last year where Will Oldham spends his time peacefully walking his dog, taking a bath or going home to eat his scrambled eggs. Aachener Zeitung/Aachener Nachrichten

The songs are full of depth, musically and instrumentally diverse, and most of all very easy to absorb. We have waited sixteen years without a whisper and now he has created a milestone which will definitely create new admirers. Financial Times The album of the week.

Beautiful and dream like....The Unfairground presents itself as the wonderful home coming of a shipwrecked sailor. Here is someone who will hopefully invest a little more time in contemporary pop culture because this new album inspires. Aschaffenburger Stadtmagazin

Ayers has always been a brilliant songwriter and his songs embrace old generations connecting with new, pain with happiness, hope with regret, life with death. His voice still has the power to take you fully in its spell. Songs like Walk On Water or Baby Come Home are pearls; unforgettable pieces from the new album. The haunting jazz and guitar parts keep coming back and these permanent musical surprises make The Unffairground, even after all these years, into a truly great and artistically valuable album. Hurricanebar

 

lyrics, musician and production credits here