Rock n Reel: July 2007
Written in the year following the death from cancer of his twenty-nine-year-old wife, Andy Thornton’s third solo album was never going to be easy listening. How could it be? A writer with his heart in clear view, Thornton’s deeply personal lyrics cut to the bone and could, in the hands of a lesser performer, have made for a maudlin and introspective affair, but such is his lyrical strength and musical prowess that Sunflower Girl makes an instant connection with the listener. Taken out of context, these songs, with their broad emotional range, deliver a powerful punch, but when the circumstances behind them are known that power is greatly increased.
Songs such as ‘Crashing And Burning’, ‘Rosey (One More Time)’ and the bittersweet title track become almost too painful to listen to, but the absolute honesty that Thornton pours into their performance makes them compelling. Playing most of the instruments himself (with a little help from guitarist Iain Archer among others), Thornton’s strength as a writer of catchy melodies and his unerring knack with arrangements are much in evidence, as with the stripped down ‘That Girl’ and ‘Under My Skin’, or the gently driving ‘Love’s Promised Land.’
There’s an aching vulnerability to Thornton’s vocal delivery that suggests that the writing and recording of this album must have been a truly cathartic experience; something that is reinforced on the beautifully uplifting closing track ‘Safely Home’, which hints at a brighter future ahead.