Simply Red: Live at Montreux 2003 

That was then; this is now. I no longer own Simply Red — in any format — so it's only with sheer nostalgia that I gave the group’s Live at Montreux 2003 a spin. The Blu-ray presents a live concert of 18 tracks of jazz- and soul-inspired pop (and then seven more from a 2010 performance that finds famously curly redhead vocalist Mick Hucknall looking far rougher than the seven-year span would suggest).

The singles — "The Right Thing," "Stars," an acoustic-begun "Holding Back the Years" — sound as snot-slick as ever, which is great for listening to a CD with headphones, but a live show? No. Given that Hucknall appears to be the only member of the group, the act is composed of studio musicians, which could be why it sounds like note-perfect, cringe-worthy karaoke.

Will Level 42 be next? —Rod Lott

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