The View From Halfway Down is the debut solo album from the incredibly talented, much loved and genuinely lovely human being that is Andy Bell. Not that I have ever met the man, but when I have listened to interviews with him the most recent of which being on Janice Long’s BBC Radio Wales show I have always been left with the impression that he is one of life’s treasures. It is worth spending time reflecting on the albums title The View From Halfway Down which is taken from a poem that was written for an episode of Bojack Horsman. The poem is a reference to someone deciding to commit suicide and then having a moment to appreciate how beautiful the view is from halfway down the jump, regretting their decision and wanting to go back and continue to live. This is such a powerful and optimistic view point and if this can have an impact on one person who is in that moment and stop to think about how wonderful the view from halfway down is and can be seen as being a message for suicide prevention. The album opens with Love Comes In Waves; I honestly have lost count of the number of times I have listened to this song since it was first released as a single in August. This is a song that will brighten up every day of your life, make you feel connected to the world around you and believe that better days will soon return. Indica follows with some hypnotic melodies and rhythms that will completely consume you. Ghost Tones is such a sweet harmonious song with some whispered vocals “Never say goodbye, goodbye, goodbye” that allow you to love the song with all your heart. Skywalker is next which is a very cheerful and upbeat song that will be sure to lift your mood and make you want to live your life with so much energy and positivity “Are you strong enough to know / That the world outside your window / Only exists to be seen and shaped by your eyes?” Audrey Drylands Gladwell is full on cosmic brilliance that will take you far off into space and leave you feeling on top of the world. Summer may have come to an end but if you do want it to last for ever Cherry Cola will allow those summer vibes to linger for some time to come. There are echoes of the Beta Band in this song which can never be a bad thing and has inspired me to dig out the Beta Band albums this weekend. I Was Alone sees Andy at his most vulnerable, the stripped back feel to this song allows Andy’s vocals to float around in such a peaceful and majestic way. Heat Haze On Weyland Road is a seven minute instrumental to close the album. On Janice Long’s show Andy described how the inspiration for this song was from the heatwave of summer ’76 and how he can vividly remember the smell of the melting tarmac, the heat coming off the roads and seeing the houses shimmer. Listen to this song now and I guarantee all those images will soon appear in your head. We are off the age where we understand the importance of an album, it has to be listened to from start to finish. You can’t skip a song you have to take your time go on a journey with the creator and escape from the world around you. The View From Halfway Down is an album that does everything and more that you would expect form an album. Do the right thing now and go and buy a copy.