Here he is, another late-year treat. Haunting dreams as Cliff Richard Christmas records do also, Ringo Starr is back with a bashful of new tracks in EP form. He retired from the album process years ago and now fixates on throwing the peace sign up, showing off his love and, in this instance, the colour palette of The Soviet Union. Comrade Ringo, come on in. Leave those four tracks at the door, though, even if one of them was written by Paul McCartney, their qualities are not assured. His vocal mixes and electric reliance are off-putting to no end though Rewind Forward, the next step in Ringo’s tooling around and jamming out period, are slightly delightful.
Sincerely, these are some of the best solo-era Ringo tracks around. For all the mockery which can be made of a man who is so desperate to adapt himself to social media but holds the same prowess of it as Windows Movie Maker amateurs, his endearing style powers through. Shadows on the Wall marks a neat cover of some words from Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams. He follows it up with the equally charming Feeling the Sunlight. Light acoustic guitar efforts are difficult to snub, especially when the reasoning behind this series is to rekindle the love for EPs which were so prominent in the 1960s but now are mere novelties. Perhaps the scrappy feel to the previous EP, aptly titled EP3, is why these were so hard to get into. Beyond the awful mixing of the previous effort, anyway.
Rewind Forward has no trouble with this though and manages to capture the peace and love Ringo always wanted his records to exude. They did not because, as he admits on Feeling the Sunlight, he “just doesn’t care”. Admirable, to be fair to him. It’s good to admit it and he does not come across as brash for heading away from records. He does not care in this era, the residuals from The Beatles still landing on the entry hall floor from time to time frees up Ringo to tour well and record with no sense of achievement necessary. These are the earnest days of a legendary drummer. Rewind Forward will do well to convince those doubters or fence-sitters of Ringo and his goal. It tires a bit on the titular track, a heavy dose of peace and love followed up with another serving of peace and love is tough to swallow.
Impossible to hate for either its mixing qualities or the style Ringo now presents, Rewind Forward is far from essential but a great bit of fun. Miss Jane is a clunky end which does push the spotlight a little more on the title track. Some slick guitar work features throughout and there it goes, another fascinating and forgettable EP project from a man whose musical legacy will not be The Beatles, nor the Ringo Starr All-Star band, but the failed relaunch of the four-track release. Sincere and heroic in equal measure, Rewind Forward stands as a relic of time, despite being released in an era where the need for flimsy plastic is now a collectable novelty instead of a necessity. Still fun, but how many avid record collectors are rushing out to pick up four new pieces from Starr is unknowable. The results would terrify either way.