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Peter Bardens - Heart To Heart CD (album) cover

HEART TO HEART

Peter Bardens

 

Prog Related

2.39 | 24 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Alone again (naturally)

In 1978, Peter Bardens left Camel, having recorded a number of albums with them which are now highly revered in parts such as this. Their "Breathless" album released that year had seen Bardens become increasingly isolated to the extent that he actually left before it was completed.

This 1979 album was his first post Camel solo release, the only link to Camel in the line up being journeyman saxophonist Mel Collins. Those familiar with Bardens' pre-Camel solo work should note that this is a completely different beast. Bardens moves away from symphonic prog here, exploring instead decidedly more lightweight and commercial territories.

The opening "Julia" is somewhat misleading in terms of the album as a whole, as it is a soft reflective love song with hints of the occasional ballads Camel themselves would slip in on later albums. The following "Doing the crab" is an uninspired piece of funk pop, with an irritatingly repetitive hook and little else.

It is only when we come to the third track, "Slipstream" that we find anything which hint towards prog. Even this though is little more than a burst of funky fusion instrumental which makes for a pleasant if undemanding listen. The side closes with another light ballad "Raining all over the world". The song is barely recognisable as a Peter Bardens recording, such is the anonymous nature of the music and performance.

Side two opens with two consecutive instrumentals. "Jinxed", another light fusion piece, is followed by what is probably the highlight of the album. "After dark" may be a pretty straightforward soft jazz shuffle, but it features some fine sax, guitar and organ providing contiguous solos. Unfortunately, that really is as good as it gets, with "Slow motion" taking back to the soft pop of a possible Camel reject.

The album closes with another pair of wandering instrumentals, the title track at least having an element of drama to it in the fanfare synth bursts. It is though little more than an exercise in synthesiser noodling.

There are two principal deficiencies with the album. The first is the well worn but always valid issue with Bardens vocals. He simply does not have an interesting enough voice to carry the album. The second is with Bardens' song-writing. Once again, he lacks the consistency of inspiration to come up with material worthy of an album by a top artist. The arrangements of the songs are adequate if perfunctory, but the overall weakness of the songs means that those arrangements are not built on a solid base.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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