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Klaatu - Sir Army Suit CD (album) cover




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2.96 | 49 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Compared to the band’s first two albums this one is more pop-flavored, which is saying something since all their albums were really just well-done pop anyway. The band sort of ‘revealed’ themselves for the first time via sketches on the back cover. Unlike their other albums, this one was painted by Hugh Syme who is better known for his many metal album covers and sporadic keyboard appearances with Rush. The copy I have is a 1979 Capitol/EMI re-issue on vinyl, so the record must have sold at least a few copies, although it wasn’t a hit by any means.

The band seemed to have abandoned its fantasy themes for more middle-fare pop love songs and Beatlesque ballads, especially on the front half of the album. “A Routine Day” and “Everybody Took a Holiday” are both in the finest tradition of mass-appeal Beatles tunes. “Juicy Lucy” sounds like a half-hearted attempt at a disco tune, but then this was the late seventies so I suppose that was to be expected.

“Older” reminds me of early Foreigner for some reason (probably the guitars), with Dee Long lyrics lamenting that the world has passed him by and regretting the things he’s missed. But this is Klaatu after all, so one can’t get too worked up.

The sailor ships out to sea on “Dear Christine”, and is writing a letter back to the lover he left behind. This one has a very early seventies folkish feel to it that I find quite appealing, and that ranks this as the most memorable track on the album. As with so many sentimental Klaatu works, the glass is half-full and the forlorn sailor is content in knowing his maiden will sit waiting for his return (not likely, but it’s a nice thought).

I guess “Mister Manson” is about Chucky Manson, the demented psycho who had several books and movies (and apparently songs) written about him back then. A weird choice of topics for this band, with a guitar/keyboard sequence that sounds remarkably like some old Siouxsie & the Banshees albums I have. Except for the vocals of course.

“Tokeymor Field” is a “Day in the Life” kind of lilting story-song, although most of the lyrics are gibberish so it’s a bit hard to follow.

On “Perpetual Motion Machine” the drum tracks border on disco once again, but the vocals have a really polished feel that is closer to Hall & Oates than to the Beatles, making for a rather quirky tune, even for these guys.

“Cherie” is another mellow love song with more light and shallow Dee Long lyrics. I actually don’t know why this one was put on the album, except that it would have probably been considered an EP otherwise.

Finally, “Silly Boys” has a handful of references to earlier Klaatu albums (madmen, the Sun, evil human nature), but is mostly known for its backwards-masked vocals. Turns out that the ‘Satanic’ message is actually the lyrics to “Anus of Uranus” from the band’s debut album. Sorry Tipper, no evil plot to possess your kids here.

So this is a pretty forgettable album but it’s from a fairly likeable bunch of guys, so I think I’ll err on the side of positive and bump it up to three stars. Mildly recommended for fans of Utopia, Super Furry Animals, and other pseudo-prog bands that don’t take themselves all that seriously. But probably not very appealing to anyone else.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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